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Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish Ministers to Meet Thursday

Mevlut Cavusoglu and Sergei Lavrov (L-R) MFA Russia (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

The foreign ministers of Ukraine, Russia and Turkey will meet in southern Turkey on Thursday, Ankara has announced as the war in Ukraine intensified.

Turkey has sought to mediate between Russia and Ukraine and offered on several occasions to host talks at leaders' level or technical discussions. 

"God willing, we will hold this meeting at a trilateral format in Antalya on Thursday" on the sidelines of a diplomatic forum in Turkey, Ankara's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Monday in comments published in the official Anadolu news agency. 

The announcement of the meeting comes after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held phone talks with his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts. 

"Upon President @RTErdogan's initiatives and our intensive diplomatic efforts, Foreign Ministers Sergei Lavrov of Russia and Dmytro Kuleba of Ukraine have decided to meet with my participation on the margins of @AntalyaDF," Cavusoglu tweeted. 

"Hope this step will lead to peace and stability," he commented. 

Moscow also confirmed on Monday that Lavrov would meet with Kuleba and Cavusoglu. 

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told Russia's TASS news agency that an agreement for the three-way meeting was reached during a telephone conversation between Putin and Erdogan at the weekend. 

That would be the first outside gathering attended by Lavrov since the beginning of the war with Ukraine as Russia is increasingly isolated by the Western world. 

Ukraine foreign ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko told AFP that "the possibility of such a meeting is being considered."

Turkey is conducting a delicate balancing act. It is a member of NATO and a traditional ally of Ukraine. But it seeks to maintain good relations with Russia, on which it depends heavily on imports.

Ankara has not closed its airspace to Russia and shied away from sanctions on Moscow. 

It however said it was blocking warships from the key Bosphorus and Dardanelles straits in line with a convention that gives it control over the passage of military vessels in the strategic area.

Erdogan appealed for an urgent general ceasefire in Ukraine when he spoke on Sunday to Putin by telephone, his office said. 

He urged Putin to allow the creation of "urgent" humanitarian corridors in Ukraine, saying he and the Russian leader could "open the way of peace together."

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