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Ukrainian, Russian rights commissioners have met in Turkey: official

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Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets said Wednesday he had held a meeting in Turkey with Russian counterpart Tatyana Moskalkova in rare talks between officials from the two countries since the start of Moscow’s invasion, Agence France-Presse reported.

They “discussed a wide range of humanitarian problems and issues related to the provision of human rights assistance to citizens of the two countries,” Lubinets said on Facebook, while Moskalkova said in a separate statement that they discussed “humanitarian aid to citizens of both countries.”

NATO member Turkey, which has stayed neutral throughout the conflict in Ukraine, has good relations with its two Black Sea neighbors — Russia and Ukraine, and has refrained from joining Western sanctions on Moscow.

Turkey has twice hosted talks between Moscow and Kyiv, including a March in-person meeting of Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba, the first high-level talks to take place after Moscow sent troops into Ukraine last February.

However, peace negotiations have since stalled and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said he will not hold any talks with Putin after the Kremlin claimed to have annexed four territories of Ukraine.

Turkey and the United Nations last summer had brokered a landmark deal with Moscow and Kyiv that designated three ports for Ukraine to send much-needed grain supplies through a Russian blockade.

Turkey also played a key role in one of the largest prisoner swaps between Russia and Ukraine since the start of Moscow’s military campaign, in which over 200 prisoners were released.

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