Russia-Ukraine delegates to meet in Istanbul

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hopes for a breakthrough in talks between Russian and Ukrainian delegates scheduled to meet in Istanbul on Tuesday, March 29. Photo courtesy of Turkey’s Presidential Office Facebook.

KUALA LUMPUR, March 29 – Officials from Russia and Ukraine will be meeting in Istanbul, Turkey today for talks, Russian news agency TASS has reported, citing a statement from Turkey’s Presidential Office on Monday.

The talks between the Russian and Ukrainian delegations in Istanbul will begin at 10:30 am Moscow time at the Dolmabahce presidential office.

It will be a closed-door meeting. According to TASS, Russian presidential aide Vladimir Medinsky, who will lead the Russian delegation to the talks with Ukraine, wrote on his Telegram channel on Sunday that a regular round on online talks with Ukraine was held on Sunday.

The sides, in his words, agreed to meet offline on March 29-30. Later, the Turkish presidential office said after a telephone call between Turkish and Russian Presidents, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin that the two leaders had agreed that the Russian and Ukrainian delegations would meet in Istanbul.

Meanwhile, President Erdogan in a press statement on Monday said: “We are almost the only country in the Ukraine-Russia war that has made sincere efforts to resolve the crisis that has been going on since 2014 through dialogue, reconciliation and agreement. In the days when everyone was chasing provocation, we advised the parties to establish peace at every opportunity.

“Hopefully, the delegations of Russia and Ukraine, which are carrying out the ceasefire and peace negotiations, will meet again in Istanbul tomorrow. Before the meeting, we will meet with the delegations and have a short meeting.”

Erdogan, who has been in contact with both Putin and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said, “I can say that the phone traffic we maintain with Mr. Putin and Mr. Zelenski is also in a positive direction. At the NATO Leaders’ Summit held in Brussels last week, we once again explained this approach to the member countries with all its clarity.”

On February 24, a war broke out between Russia and Ukraine, which Russia maintains is a “special military operation” against Ukraine.

Reuters reported the Russian President saying that the operation’s goal “is to protect people who have been subjected to bullying and genocide… for the last eight years. And for this we will strive for the demilitarisation and denazification of Ukraine.

“And to bring to court those who committed numerous bloody crimes against civilians, including against citizens of the Russian Federation.”

Since the conflict began, more than three million people have fled Ukraine according to the United Nations while more than 1,000 people have died and many more injured.

As for economic repercussions, the economies of neighbouring countries as well as those dependent on imports from Russia have been affected, and prices of several goods including crude oil have also risen worldwide.–WE