Russia and Ukraine hold talks as war rages on

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Ukraine_Tensions- BBC
Ukraine_Tensions- BBC

The foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine are holding talks in Turkey, as Moscow’s all-out invasion of its neighbour enters its third week.

Ukraine’s Dmytro Kuleba said ahead of the face-to-face meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov that his expectations were “limited”.

It comes after Ukraine accused Russia of bombing a children’s hospital, calling it a “war crime”.

Officials say three people including a child died in the attack in Mariupol.

Seventeen people, including staff and patients, were injured, the local mayor’s office said. Footage shows a building – which also housed a maternity ward – reduced to a shell, with a huge crater nearby.

On Thursday the Kremlin said it would seek information from the Russian military about what had happened.

A further seven deaths were reported in Russian strikes in north-eastern Ukraine overnight – four people including two children were killed in strikes near the city of Kharkiv and three people including a 13-year-old boy died in strikes on Okhtyrka, in the Sumy region.

Meanwhile Ukraine’s deputy prime minister said seven evacuation routes – including routes out of Mariupol and Sumy – would open on Thursday.

‘Low expectations’ for talks

Ahead of the talks in Antalya, southern Turkey, Mr Kuleba said: “Frankly… my expectations of the talks are low.”

Ukraine’s foreign ministry said that Kyiv was seeking an immediate “cessation of hostilities and the war against Ukraine by Russia”.

Meanwhile, Russia is demanding that Ukraine abandons its stated plans to join the Nato military alliance, and becomes a neutral-status state. It also says Kyiv must accept Moscow’s jurisdiction over Crimea – the southern Ukrainian peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014.

And Russia is pressing for Kyiv to recognise two self-proclaimed rebel regions in eastern Ukraine.

Two previous rounds of talks held in recent days failed to find any breakthrough, although the two warring sides agreed on establishing humanitarian corridors.

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