The Russian and Ukrainian overseas ministers will Thursday maintain face-to-face talks in southern Turkey within the first high-level contact between Kyiv and Moscow since Russia invaded its neighbor two weeks in the past.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has pushed for Turkey to play a mediation function, has expressed hope the talks can avert tragedy and even assist agree a ceasefire.
But analysts worry there are solely the bottom probabilities of a breakthrough on the assembly in Antalya between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba.
Senior Ukrainian officers, together with the protection minister, have held a sequence of conferences with a Russian delegation in Belarus largely dedicated to humanitarian points, however Moscow has not despatched any ministers to the talks.
Lavrov and Kuleba will probably be joined on the assembly Thursday morning by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, with NATO member Turkey eager to keep up sturdy relations with either side regardless of the battle.
Kuleba confirmed in a video on Facebook he was getting ready to fulfill Lavrov on Thursday, warning that his expectations have been “limited”.
He mentioned the success of the talks would rely on “what instructions and directives Lavrov is under” from the Kremlin on the discussions.
“I am not pinning any great hopes on them but we will try and get the most out of” the talks with efficient preparation, he mentioned.
– ‘Active neutrality’ –
The go to to Antalya is the primary journey overseas for Lavrov since Russia was remoted by the Western world with biting sanctions which have additionally focused President Vladimir Putin’s long-serving high diplomat.
Lavrov flew into Antalya late on Wednesday forward of the talks, that are being held on the sidelines of a diplomatic discussion board organized by Cavusoglu in Antalya, a Turkish official mentioned.
The assembly is more likely to be tense after Kuleba in an interview final week with CNN described Lavrov because the “Ribbentrop of his time” in reference to the overseas minister of Nazi Germany in World War II.
“We are working to stop this crisis transforming into a tragedy,” Erdogan mentioned on Wednesday.
“I hope the meeting between the ministers will open the way to a permanent ceasefire.”
Turkey is a standard ally of Ukraine and has equipped the nation with Bayraktar drones — made by a agency whose know-how director is Erdogan’s personal son-in-law — which Kyiv has deployed within the battle.
But it’s searching for to keep up good relations with Russia, on which Turkey relies upon closely for fuel imports and tourism revenues.
Erdogan referred to as the Russian invasion “unacceptable” however on the identical time, Ankara has not joined Western sanctions in opposition to Moscow and refused to shut its airspace to Russian planes.
“This active neutrality succeeded in bringing Turkey to the center of the diplomatic game,” mentioned Berk Esen of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs.
– Low ‘breakthrough’ likelihood –
The warfare has sparked Europe’s largest refugee disaster since World War II, with greater than two million individuals crossing Ukraine’s borders, in keeping with the United Nations.
The West’s sanctions on Russia have didn’t dissuade Putin from pushing on along with his assault.
“I think every effort helps, but I don’t think there is much hope for a breakthrough just yet,” the Foreign Policy Research Institute’s Middle East Program director Aaron Stein advised AFP.
The talks are a lift for Erdogan who has lately discovered himself more and more cold-shouldered by the West over unilateral Turkish operations in Syria and considerations over human rights.
Turkey can be ending a extreme financial disaster that has seen a crash within the worth of the lira. A breakdown in relations with Russia may spell catastrophe for the economic system.
Erdogan can be scheduled to speak on the telephone with US President Joe Biden Thursday at 1530 GMT, in keeping with the Turkish presidency.
Washington Institute fellow Soner Cagaptay mentioned he would “be highly surprised” if the Antalya talks led to a significant breakthrough, with different leaders together with French President Emmanuel Macron and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett additionally searching for to mediate.
But he praised as a “huge success for Turkish diplomacy” the truth that the 2 overseas ministers “are agreeing to meet in person in a neutral territory”.
“That’s quite significant even if there’s no breakthrough,” he advised AFP.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV employees and is printed from a syndicated feed.)