Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said that there is no alternative to the talks which were held in Belarus recently between the Russian and Ukrainian delegations. There were three rounds of talks between both groups in February and March with the last round held on March 7.
“There is no alternative to the Russia-Ukraine talks being held in Belarus,” Lavrov was quoted as saying by news agency Sputnik. Lavrov addressed a press conference following his meeting with Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba on the sidelines of the Anatalya Diplomatic Forum.
Lavrov said that Russia does not want to attack any nation and prefers to continue discussions with the Ukrainian leadership. “The Ukrainian leadership has preferred meetings for the sake of meetings, preferred to imitate, simulate concrete decisions. The Ukrainian side has taken our very concrete proposals, and promised us that there would be very concrete answers. We’re waiting,” Lavrov was quoted as saying by news agency AFP.
He also said that the Ukrainian leadership needs to provide the groundwork if Russian president Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky are to meet to reduce hostilities in Ukraine.
Lavrov further pressed that Zelensky should not have taken decisions which hurt the Russophone communities in eastern part of Ukraine. He said that the Kremlin looks at Ukraine as a friendly nation which will not impose any bans on Russian language and culture.
Turkish foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu was also present in the meeting. He said that there are no winners or losers in a war but only the civilians suffer. French president Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Olaf Scholz also said solutions will only emerge from negotiations.
Mariupol Hospital Bombing
Russia’s top diplomat also commented on the Mariupol children’s hospital bombing incident which led to deaths of three people, one minor among them. He said that the hospital was a base for Ukrainian nationalists.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said that the bombing of the hospital was a war crime. Spain prime minister Pedro Sánchez also condemned Russia for the bombing.
The Kremlin said that it is gathering all information on the hospital bombing to gather a clear picture of what transpired.
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