Progress in Ukraine-Russia peace talks, says Turkey
Turkey optimistic on peace agreement as Russia issues ultimatum to Mariupol: Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has claimed that Russia and Ukraine are “close to an agreement” on key areas, in comments picked up by Turkish newspaper Hurriyet. Turkey is acting as a mediator between the two sides and earlier this month hosted direct talks between the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers. “There is convergence on the two countries’ positions on the critical issues,” Cavusoglu said, adding that four of the six points of disagreement are close to being settled.
Where there’s progress: Turkish presidential adviser Ibrahim Kalin told Hurriyet on Saturday that Russia and Ukraine have made progress on four key points: Kyiv’s relationship with Nato, mutual security guarantees, protection of the Russian language in Ukraine, and what Russia refers to as “denazification.”
The sticking points: Russia and Ukraine remain far apart on the future status of Crimea and the separatist regions in the Donbas, he said. Russia annexed the Crimean peninsula in 2014 following the Maidan revolution, and has sponsored breakaway republics in the east of the country which is recognized as independent states prior to its invasion.
ON THE GROUND-
Moscow issues ultimatum to surrender Mariupol: Russia has given Ukrainian forces in the besieged port city of Mariupol a deadline today to surrender their weapons. A statement from the Russian Defense Ministry carried by RIA Novosti said that Russian troops would abide by a ceasefire to open humanitarian corridors and allow aid into the city but demanded that Kyiv tell Moscow in writing by 5am Moscow time that its fighters would leave the city. The Ukrainian deputy PM rejected the deadline, saying that there would be “no question” of surrender.