Formally, the Russian-Ukrainian negotiations, which took place on Thursday in Antalya, Turkey, ranked higher than the previous meetings in Belarus: the Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met his Kiev counterpart Dmytro Kuleba through the mediation of his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu.

But that was no guarantee of results.

After the conversation, Kuleba said he came with the aim of creating a corridor to and from Mariupol.

The south-eastern Ukrainian city has been cut off from supplies for days and, according to its administration, was also shelled by the Russian besiegers on Thursday.

Kuleba said it had not been able to promise such a corridor but would "discuss this issue with the relevant authorities".

Rainer Herman

Editor in Politics.

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Frederick Smith

Political correspondent for Russia and the CIS in Moscow.

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Lavrov himself, on the other hand, was combative, speaking of civilians being used as living shields by "battalions of so-called volunteers and forces of the so-called territorial defense."

What is meant are Ukrainian “nationalists” who distinguish Moscow from enemy soldiers.

Referring to Wednesday's bombing of a maternity hospital in Mariupol, for which Moscow has been widely criticized, Lavrov said the facility had "long since been captured by the Azov battalion and other radicals, who threw out all the women who gave birth, all the nurses and all the staff."

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called this a lie and said that three people died in the attack on the maternity hospital, including a child.

"Will emerge from this crisis with sane psychology"

Lavrov also reiterated the goal of a "neutral" Ukraine in Antalya.

Alluding to a second war goal proclaimed by President Vladimir Putin to "denazify" the neighboring country, the minister added that Russia opposes a "tendency to create a neo-Nazi state with neo-Nazi traditions in Ukraine".

Referring to Western sanctions, Lavrov said Russia will “emerge from this crisis with sanity in psychology and sanity.

We will not entertain any illusions that the West can be a reliable partner.” They will “do everything so that we are not dependent on the West in any way in the future”.

The meeting of Lavrov and Kuleba took place the day before the start of the annual diplomatic forum held in Antalya.

Both had been invited to the forum before the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and had accepted.

Cavusoglu has repeatedly justified Turkey's attempts at mediation by saying that Turkey maintains contacts with both sides.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had already tried to mediate between Russia and Ukraine before the war began.

Turkey has become one of Ukraine's most important foreign and security policy partners in recent years - despite the so-called male friendship between Erdogan and Putin.

Ankara, for example, condemned the annexation of Crimea, demanded that Ukraine's territorial integrity be restored and became its most important arms supplier.

By strengthening Ukraine, Turkey wanted to prevent the Black Sea from becoming a "Russian Sea".

Erdogan rebuffed his most recent phone call with Putin last Sunday;

During the hour-long talk, he advocated a ceasefire and the establishment of humanitarian corridors.

Turkey has not completely burned ties with the Kremlin.

Although Ankara has blocked the passage of Russian warships through the straits between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean, Turkey has not joined the sanctions against Russia.

Because Russia is their main supplier of gas and coal, a Russian consortium is building Turkey's first nuclear power plant, and Russian tourists make up the largest group of tourists.

Turkey also fears that it will be drawn into the war and that if a Ukrainian nuclear power plant were attacked, radioactive fallout would reach Turkey.

Cavusoglu said after the meeting in Antalya that the possibility of a meeting between Zelenskyi and Putin was also discussed.

However, the latter has always refused to meet the Ukrainian president, even though when asked about such a meeting, Lavrov said that Putin “never refuses contacts.

We just want these contacts not to be organized as an end in themselves.” Lavrov also said: “We do not plan to attack other countries and have not attacked Ukraine either.”