Turkey hopes talks for a ceasefire in Ukraine will start soon, Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said on Sunday (3 March), at the end of a diplomatic forum in the southern city of Antalya.

Fidan met his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, on Friday on the sidelines of the Antalya Diplomacy Forum. He told reporters he had discussed a number of issues with Lavrov, including Ukraine.

“On the issue of Ukraine, our view is that both sides have reached the limits of what they can get by war. We think that it is time to start a dialogue for a ceasefire,” Fidan said.

“That doesn’t mean recognising the occupation (by Russia), but issues of sovereignty and ceasefire should be discussed separately.”

NATO member Turkey, which shares a maritime border with both Ukraine and Russia in the Black Sea, has sought to maintain good ties with both nations since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine two years ago.

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Ankara has provided military support for Ukraine and voiced support for its territorial integrity, but also opposes sanctions on Russia.

“The death and injury of more than 500,000 people and the complete destruction of the infrastructure and superstructure of an entire country is not a reality that is bearable for us,” Fidan said.

“This has to stop somehow. To stop this, there should be some discussions and everybody should get used to this idea.”

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Moscow at the table

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Galuzin and China’s special representative for Eurasian affairs, Li Hui, said it was impossible to discuss a Ukraine settlement without Moscow’s participation, the Russian foreign ministry said on Sunday.

The Chinese envoy met with Galuzin during his second trip to Europe promoting a political settlement of the Ukrainian crisis, a tour that will also include Poland, Ukraine and Germany.

“A very engaged and thorough exchange of views took place on the topic of the Ukrainian crisis,” the Russian foreign ministry said in the statement posted on its website.

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“It was stated that any discussion of a political and diplomatic settlement is impossible without the participation of Russia and taking into account its interests in the security sphere.”

China is ready to “continue its efforts to promote peace talks, mediate and build consensus among Russia, Ukraine and other relevant parties, and promote a final political settlement of the Ukraine crisis,” China’s foreign ministry said in a readout from the meeting.

Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, calling it a “special military operation” to “denazify” its neighbour.

Switzerland agreed Monday (15 January) to a request by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to host a peace summit of world leaders on ending Russia’s full-scale invasion — but without inviting Moscow.

Andriy Yermak, head of Ukraine’s presidential office, recently said that his country could invite representatives from Russia to a future peace summit requested by Ukraine and still without a set date, proves successful.

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Kyiv and its Western allies call the war, which two years later continues to kill civilians nearly on daily basis, an unprovoked land grab.

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