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Russian and Ukrainian delegations arrive in Turkey for face to face talks; hopes not high

Earlier talks between the sides, held both by video and in person, failed to make progress. Zelenskyy says Ukraine is prepared to declare its neutrality and consider a compromise on contested areas in the country’s east to secure peace — but he said only a face-to-face meeting with Putin can end the war

FPJ Web Desk | Updated on: Tuesday, March 29, 2022, 09:38 AM IST

Mykolaivna Shankarukina, 54, kisses her son from inside a damaged bus as she is leaving from the Ukrainian Red Cross center in Mykolaiv, southern Ukraine, on Monday, March 28, 2022 | AP
Mykolaivna Shankarukina, 54, kisses her son from inside a damaged bus as she is leaving from the Ukrainian Red Cross center in Mykolaiv, southern Ukraine, on Monday, March 28, 2022 | AP
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A Ukrainian delegation has landed in Istanbul, ahead of talks with Russian negotiators aimed at ending the war, Turkey’s private IHA news agency has reported.

The face-to-face talks between the two sides are scheduled to be held on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Turkey is among countries that could offer Kyiv security guarantees as part of any deal with Russia to end the war in Ukraine, a senior Ukrainian official said on Monday.

"Turkey is among those countries that could become guarantors of our security in the future," Ihor Zhovkva, deputy head of President Volodymyr Zelensky's office, said ahead of peace talks scheduled between Kyiv and Moscow in Turkey.

Kyiv has said it wants legally binding security guarantees that would offer Ukraine protection in the event of a future attack.

Ukrainian and Russian negotiators are meeting in Turkey for face-to-face talks for the first time in two weeks, with Kyiv seeking a ceasefire without giving up territory or sovereignty.

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said of the talks in Istanbul: "We are not trading people, land or sovereignty."

"The minimum programme will be humanitarian questions, and the maximum programme is reaching an agreement on a ceasefire," he said on national television.

But Ukrainian interior ministry adviser Vadym Denysenko said that he doubted there would be any breakthrough.

A senior US State Department official cast similar doubt on hopes for progress, saying Russian President Vladimir Putin did not appear ready to make compromises to end the war.

Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said talks so far had not yielded any substantial progress, but it was important they continued in person. He declined to give more information.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he would meet “briefly” with the Ukrainian and Russian delegations ahead of their talks on Tuesday.

In a televised address following a Cabinet meeting Monday, the Turkish leader also said that separate telephone calls he has been holding with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin were progressing in a “positive direction.” He did not elaborate.

Russian and Ukrainian negotiators are scheduled to begin two days of face-to-face talks in Istanbul on Tuesday.

Earlier talks between the sides, held both by video and in person, failed to make progress. Zelenskyy says Ukraine is prepared to declare its neutrality and consider a compromise on contested areas in the country’s east to secure peace — but he said only a face-to-face meeting with Putin can end the war. A meeting like that hasn’t happened yet.

(with inputs from AP)

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Published on: Tuesday, March 29, 2022, 09:38 AM IST