Russia does not budge in high-level negotiations with Ukraine – POLITICO

Russia does not want to withdraw from the war in Ukraine after a meeting between the two countries’ foreign ministers in Turkey on Thursday.

After just a few hours, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba emerged from talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to offer a bleak assessment.

Kuleba said at a news conference the “widespread narrative” that Lavrov conveyed was that Russia “will continue to [its] repression until Ukraine responds to their demands”.

And those demands are unmet for Ukraine: complete demilitarization, total surrender – basically total submission to Russia.

Lavrov did not deny Kuleba’s account during his own press conference.

“We will never agree to a ceasefire,” he said. “Ukraine knows what we want.”

Thursday’s meeting was the highest-level meeting between Russia and Ukraine since Moscow launched an all-out offensive two weeks ago. But, like previous dialogues between subordinate delegations, the discussion made no discernible progress.

Kuleba said much of his time is spent on “urgent humanitarian issues on the ground” – a vital concern for Ukrainians trying to flee many cities besieged by Russian troops.

Russia has repeatedly vowed to allow locals to escape through humanitarian corridors, continuing its shelling only during the agreed ceasefire, according to local authorities and various media outlets. believe.

The besieged city of Mariupol has received special attention in recent days after local authorities halted evacuation efforts due to ongoing attacks. Then, earlier this week, Russian forces bombed a maternity hospital in Mariupol, injuring several people and killing three people, including a child, according to Ukrainian authorities. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the attack “evidence of a genocide”.

When pressed about the attack on the maternity hospital, Lavrov initially asserted that there were no women or children there, then contradicted himself by saying that Ukrainian forces were using people at the hospital to work. human shield. A lot of video and Photograph There have appeared women injured in the attack on the hospital.

Kuleba said he hoped Foreign Minister Lavrov would listen to Ukraine’s requests “to help arrange safe passage for them from besieged cities, first of all from Mariupol, as well as to allow aid delivery. humanitarian”.

Unsurprisingly, there was a lack of results from the meeting. Essentially, Russia has demanded full surrender of Ukraine since the beginning of the war and has not wavered since. In public, Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly reiterated his clear stance, even when his team was meeting with a Ukrainian delegation.

Meanwhile, Russian forces continued to increase their bombing raids on many Ukrainian cities. However, Moscow’s troops remained stalled for days on the outskirts of the capital, Kyiv, as well as outside several other important urban centers. Russia does not budge in high-level negotiations with Ukraine - POLITICO

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