There was deadlock again in Russia and Ukraine ceasefire talks.
Russia and Ukraine have failed to find a breakthrough on a ceasefire and other humanitarian issues at the first high-level talks between the two sides since Moscow’s invasion.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba met on the sidelines of a diplomatic forum in the Turkish resort city of Antalya for three-way talks joined by Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
Kuleba said “no progress” had been achieved on even a 24-hour ceasefire, expressing frustration that “it seems that there are other decision-makers for this matter in Russia”.
He also repeated his vow that the country will not give in, saying “I want to repeat that Ukraine has not surrendered, does not surrender, and will not surrender”.
He described the meeting as “difficult”, accusing his Russian counterpart of bringing “traditional narratives” about Ukraine to the table.
He said he would be ready to meet with Lavrov “again in this format if there are prospects or a substantial discussion and for seeking solutions”.
Ukrainian and Russian delegations have also been meeting in Belarus, but the team sent by Russia to those talks is relatively low-ranking, without a minister.
Lavrov appeared to put a greater emphasis on those talks saying: “Today’s meeting has confirmed that the Russian-Ukrainian format in Belarus has no alternative”.
“We are in favour of any contacts… to solve the Ukrainian crisis… but the thing we realised is they must have added value and must not undermine the main track in Belarus.”
He said the main topic of the talks in Antalya were humanitarian issues put forward by the Turkish hosts.
There was no indication that they had shaken hands ahead of the discussions.
But, Britain’s Armed Forces Minister James Heappey yesterday stated that Russian military commanders as well as people at the very top of the Russian government will be held to account for any war crimes in Ukraine.
“Russian commanders need to remember that war crimes are not just committed by those at the very top of the Russian government,” Heappey told Sky News.
Lavrov, however, also accused the European Union and other countries of “dangerously” backing the supply of arms to Ukraine.
“We see how dangerously our Western colleagues, including in the European Union, are acting now, which, in violation of all its so-called principles and values, encourages the supply of deadly weapons to Ukraine.”
The United States (U.S.) House yesterday approved a $1.5 trillion spending bill to keep the government’s doors open for the next six months and send $13.6 billion in humanitarian and military aid to Ukraine. The bill included more than $4 billion to assist Ukraine and others in Eastern Europe grappling with the millions of refugees fleeing the former Soviet republic after Russia invaded two weeks ago.
This came as UK armed forces minister, James Heappey, yesterday said his country was looking at “practicality and feasibility” of providing Ukraine with anti-aircraft weapons capable of shooting down Russian planes on night combat missions.