Russian and Ukraine foreign ministers met on Thursday, but no progress was forthcoming on a cease fire. The meeting took place in the South Turkish resort of Antalya, and according to Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba and Turkey’s FM Mevlut Cavusoglu, it was a frustrating meeting between the two sides.
“I made a simple proposal to Minister Lavrov,” Kuleba told news media. “I can call my Ukrainian ministers, authorities, and president now and give you 100% assurance on security guarantees for humanitarian corridors. I asked him, can he do the same? He did not answer.”
Kuleba said that he had wanted a 24 hour cease fire and a civilian humanitarian corridor, but the Russian diplomat, Sergei Lavrov, did not agree to either one.
“I am not surprised that Mr. Kuleba said that it was not possible to agree to a cease fire,” Lavrov said. “Here, no one was intending to agree to a cease fire.”
The day before a Russian airstrike demolished a maternity hospital in Mariupol, which was internationally condemned. Lavrov claimed that the hospital had been occupied by Ukraine military forces and were investigating the incident.
“Three days ago at the U.N. Security Council meeting, our delegation presented facts that this maternity hospital had long been seized by the Azov battalion and other radicals,” Lavrov said.
Russia says that for the war to end, Ukraine must remain neutral and not seek a NATO alliance with other European nations. It has also referred to it’s assault as a “special military operation” to disarm Ukraine and dislodge leaders it calls “neo-Nazis.” That claim has been dismissed as pretext for the invasion of a fledgling democracy.
Sources: Reuters, CNN, The Week.