Ukrainian and Russian negotiators will begin peace talks in İstanbul this week, according to Russian and Turkish sources.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, agreed in a phone call on Sunday that İstanbul would host the talks, which Ankara hopes will lead to a ceasefire.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu tweeted on Sunday that the Russian and Ukrainian delegations would meet in Turkey for negotiations thanks to Erdoğan’s efforts.
Çavuşoğlu said Turkey was aware of the trust both sides have placed in his country, expressing hope that the talks will result in peace through a permanent ceasefire.
Upon the initiative of President @RTErdogan the negotiating delegations of #Russia & #Ukraine will meet in Türkiye.
We are aware of the responsibility stemming from the trust vested in Türkiye by both sides.
We hope the meetings will result in lasting ceasefire & enable peace.
— Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (@MevlutCavusoglu) March 27, 2022
Although some media reports said the talks would begin on Monday, Russian press secretary Dmitri Peskov said the İstanbul negotiations were unlikely to begin on Monday and could begin on Tuesday.
According to the Turkish presidential office, Erdoğan told Putin during the phone call on Sunday that a ceasefire and improved humanitarian conditions to allow civilians to flee the fighting were needed as the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24, enters its second month.
“Erdoğan noted the importance of a ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine, the implementation of peace and the improvement of humanitarian conditions in the region,” his office said in a readout of the call.
Turkey, which has close ties with both Ukraine and Russia, has tried to position itself as a mediator in the ongoing conflict.
It hosted the first high-level meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers since the war began in the southern resort city of Antalya in early March.
Earlier negotiations, both by video and in person, have failed to make progress on ending the war that has killed thousands and driven more than 10 million Ukrainians from their homes, including almost 4 million from the country.