Russia-Ukraine talks yield no progress as war enters third week


Russia’s war in Ukraine entered the third week on Thursday with none of its stated objectives reached, despite thousands of people killed, more than two million made refugees and thousands cowering in besieged cities under relentless bombardment.

The foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine met on Thursday in Turkey, the highest level contact between the two countries since the war began on Feb. 24, but in simultaneous duelling news conferences made clear they had made no progress.

Ukraine’s Dmytro Kuleba said he had secured no promise from Russia’s Sergei Lavrov to halt firing so aid could reach civilians, including Kyiv’s main humanitarian priority — evacuating hundreds of thousands of people trapped in the besieged port of Mariupol.

“I want to repeat that Ukraine has not surrendered, does not surrender, and will not surrender,” Kuleba told reporters after meeting Lavrov on the sidelines of a diplomatic forum in the southern Turkish resort of Antalya.

Lavrov showed no sign of making any concessions, repeating Russian demands that Ukraine be disarmed and accept neutral status. He said Kyiv appeared to want meetings for the sake of meetings, and blamed the West for intensifying the conflict by arming its neighbour.

The city council of Mariupol said the port had come under fresh air strikes on Thursday morning and Ukraine said Russia committed “genocide” by bombing a maternity hospital there on Wednesday. Lavrov said the building was no longer used as a hospital and had been occupied by Ukrainian forces..AP


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