Ukraine said on Thursday (March 10) Moscow had snubbed its plea for humanitarian access to rescue hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped under bombardment, as the opposing sides yielded nothing at the highest level talks since the Russian invasion began.
Russia’s war in Ukraine entered its third week with none of its stated objectives reached, despite thousands of people killed, more than two million made refugees and thousands cowering in besieged cities under relentless bombardment.
After meeting Russia’s Sergei Lavrov in Turkey, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Lavrov had refused to promise to halt firing so aid could reach civilians, including Kyiv’s main humanitarian priority – evacuating hundreds of thousands of people trapped in the besieged port of Mariupol.
At his own simultaneous news conference in a separate room, Lavrov showed no sign of making any concessions, saying the operation was going to plan and repeating Russian demands that Ukraine be disarmed and accept neutral status.
Lavrov said Kyiv appeared to want meetings for the sake of meetings, and that a ceasefire was not meant to be on the agenda in Turkey.
Russia calls its actions a special military operation to disarm its neighbour and dislodge leaders it calls neo-Nazis. Kyiv and its Western allies say this is a baseless pretext to invade a country of 44 million people.