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Top Russian, Ukrainian Diplomats to Meet Thursday in Turkey

The deployment included additional refueling aircraft that would be sent to Greece along with an ordnance and maintenance company.
Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba speaks during a news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the State Department in Washington, U.S., February 22, 2022. Carolyn Kaster/Pool via REUTERS
Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba speaks during a news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the State Department in Washington, U.S., February 22, 2022. Carolyn Kaster/Pool via REUTERS

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba have agreed to meet at a forum in southern Turkey on Thursday, the first potential talks between the top diplomats since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.

Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey’s foreign minister, made the announcement on Monday and said he would attend the meeting in the resort city of Antalya. Russia’s foreign ministry confirmed the plan.

NATO member Turkey, which shares a maritime border with Russia and Ukraine in the Black Sea, had been offering to mediate between the sides. Ankara has good relations with both Moscow and Kyiv, and has called Russia’s invasion unacceptable even as it opposes sanctions against Moscow.

Cavusoglu said that in a call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday, President Tayyip Erdogan repeated Turkey’s offer to host the meeting and Lavrov later accepted.

“We especially hope that this meeting is a turning point and…an important step towards peace and stability,” he said, adding both ministers had asked for him to join the talks.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova confirmed the meeting on Telegram.

Kuleba had said on Saturday he was open to talks with Lavrov but only if they were “meaningful”.

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