Russia, Ukraine to meet in Turkey for face-to-face talks between March 28 and 30
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that an understanding on four of six negotiating points have been reached between the Ukraine and Russia - Ukraine not going for NATO membership, use of Russian language in Ukraine, disarmament and security guarantees.
The Russian invasion on Ukraine entered its 32nd day on Sunday, even as negotiation talks between the two sides so far have not yielded fruitful results. The delegations have now decided to meet for the next in-person talks between March 28 and 30 in Turkey, a Ukraine negotiator and politician David Arakhamia informed on Facebook earlier in the day.
Russia's lead negotiator, Vladimir Medinsky, confirmed Turkey as the location for the next peace talks. However, he said the negotiation would start on Tuesday (March 29) and end Wednesday (March 30).
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that an understanding on four of six negotiating points have been reached between the two former Soviet neighbours - Ukraine not pursuing North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) membership, use of Russian language in Ukraine, disarmament and security guarantees. However, Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said that there was “no consensus” on key points with Russia.
This development comes as Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused the West of cowardice and not having enough courage to face Russia. In a video address earlier in the day, the comedian-turned-president said, "If only those who have been thinking for 31 days on how to hand over dozens of jets and tanks had 1% of their courage.” Zelenskyy has been consistently urging the West to provide Ukraine with fighter jets and tanks.
Referring to the besieged city of Mariupol that has borne the brunt of Russian missiles, with repeated attempts for humanitarian corridor for the city failing due to trading blames between the two countries, Zelenskyy said the “determination, heroism and firmness” of the “defenders” are “astonishing”.
“I've talked to the defenders of Mariupol today. I'm in constant contact with them,” the Ukrainian president added.
Two humanitarian corridors were agreed between Russia and Ukraine earlier in the day, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in a video statement.
Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden's fiery verbal attack on his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin has triggered a barrage of reactions. On Saturday, during his visit to Polish capital Warsaw, Biden called Putin a “butcher” after he met Ukrainian refugees there. Later, he called for the removal of the Russian president from power. “For God's sake, this man cannot remain in power,” Biden said during his speech.
French President Emmanuel Macron distanced himself from Biden's remarks - though he termed the US as a vital ally, saying the focus should be on putting an end to the war and not “escalating” the situation “either in words or action”.
The separatist Luhansk People's Republic in eastern Ukraine, partly backed by Russia, said earlier in the day that it could hold a referendum soon to join the country, local leader Leonid Pasechnik said as per Reuters.
This comes after the Russian military on Friday said its focus now is on “complete liberation” of the Donbas region. The move could be seen following Russian troops failing to make adequate territorial gains in Ukraine due to the latter's stiff resistance.
(With inputs from agencies)