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Turkey’s foreign minister says in Moscow that war must stop

8141904 16.03.2022 Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, right, and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu talk to the media at a news conference following their meeting in Moscow, Russia. Alexander Shcherbak / POOL (Photo by Alexander Shcherbak / POOL / Sputnik via AFP)

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, speaking alongside his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Wednesday, said the war in Ukraine must stop and that Ankara would press on with diplomatic efforts to arrange a lasting ceasefire, Reuters reported.

Çavuşoğlu told reporters after a meeting with Lavrov that NATO member Turkey hoped Russian President Vladimir Putin would meet with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky as a step toward peace.

“The war must stop. People must not die. I came here to Moscow with this understanding today,” Çavuşoğlu was quoted by Reuters as saying.

“We have shared our concerns in a sincere way and done our part to ease tensions and open the stage for diplomacy,” he said. “We would like to host this [Putin-Zelensky] meeting when the situation comes to that point … for a lasting ceasefire.”

Lavrov said there were no obstacles to a meeting between Putin and Zelensky but that it would only take place to seal a specific agreement.

Last week Lavrov and Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba held talks in Turkey in the first such meeting since Russia invaded Ukraine.

Çavuşoğlu said Turkey’s priority was evacuating citizens remaining in the besieged Ukrainian city of Mariupol after more than 15,000 Turks had already left the country, which is to the north across the Black Sea.

Moscow has denied targeting civilian areas in what it calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine.

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