Russian and Ukrainian negotiators began face-to-face talks in İstanbul on Tuesday shortly after 10:30 am (0730 GMT), Agence France-Presse reported, citing the state-run Anadolu news agency.
The two sides were welcomed by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who urged them to “put an end to this tragedy” sparked by Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine.
The face-to-face talks at the Dolmabahçe palace in İstanbul are aimed at trying to end a war has killed an estimated 20,000 people and forced more than 10 million from their homes.
It is the first time that the two countries’ delegations, who arrived in Turkey on Monday, met after several rounds of talks by videoconference.
“The two parties have legitimate concerns, it’s possible to reach a solution acceptable to the international community,” Erdoğan said.
“It’s up to the two parties to put an end to this tragedy,” he insisted, adding that the “extension of the conflict is in no one’s interest.”
Turkey on March 10 hosted the first meeting between Ukrainian and Russian foreign ministers since the invasion of Ukraine last month in the southern Turkish city of Antalya.