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Ukraine and Russia within hours of a summit meeting in Turkey | War in Ukraine

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Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in Turkey on Wednesday evening, where he is to meet his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba the next day.

The two men will be received by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Antalya, a seaside town, the day after, according to Ukrainian authorities, Russian airstrikes on a pediatric hospital in the eastern port city of Mariupol. from Ukraine.

Rounds of discussions in Belarus have finally allowed the establishment of certain humanitarian corridors, but this will be the first diplomatic meeting at this level since the Russian offensive.

It is also the first exit of Mr. Lavrov out of Russia, more and more isolated by the Western sanctions which target it, since the beginning of the war.

The atmosphere is likely to be tense, the Ukrainian minister having recently described on CNN his Russian counterpart as Contemporary Ribbentropnamed after Hitler’s foreign minister during World War II.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has stepped up mediation efforts since the crisis began, argued on Wednesday that Turkey can talk to both Ukraine and Russia. We are working to prevent the crisis from becoming a tragedyhe insisted, even if this stage seems long past.

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The Antalya talks come as Moscow on Wednesday reported progress in its discussions with Ukraine on the Belarus border, according to the spokeswoman for Russian diplomacy.

From limited expectations

On Wednesday, Mr. Kouleba assured in a video on Facebook that he would do everything to ensure that talks [soient] as efficient as possible while trusting to have limited expectations.

I don’t have high hopes, but we will do everything to get the most out of ithe said, claiming that everything will depend on the instructions that Lavrov will have received before these discussions.

Ankara has been sticking to a delicate balancing act from the start and keeping the channels of discussion open.

Turkey, a NATO member, is an ally of Ukraine to which it supplies combat drones, and President Erdogan has denounced an invasion unacceptable of Ukraine by Russia.

Careful to maintain its relations with Russia, on which its tourism and its wheat and energy supplies are closely dependent, Turkey has not, however, joined in Western sanctions and has kept its airspace and sea lanes open to Russia.

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Mr. Erdogan had already spoken on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday to call for a ceasefire.

Other leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, got personally involved in the case, to no avail.

Moreover, the experts do not foresee the conclusion of an agreement, while the Ukrainian population is experiencing a deep humanitarian crisis.

According to the latest United Nations figures, between 2.1 and 2.2 million people have fled the country since the start of the war.

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