Ukrainian, Russian commissioners to meet in Turkey

Turkey will host two days of talks this week between its Ukrainian and Russian counterparts to discuss a range of humanitarian issues, including potential prisoner exchanges and the establishment of a humanitarian corridor, Turkish Chief Commissioner Seref Malkoc announced on Tuesday.

Malkoc told reporters during a joint presser with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Lubinets in Ankara that the two-day talks will focus on incentives to de-escalate the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

“We will try to formulate a road map on child rights, human rights and exchange of injured and prisoners in the tripartite meeting,” he said.

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Malkoc stopped short of specifying a date for the talks, but said they would take place on Wednesday and Thursday on the sidelines of an international human rights conference in Ankara.

He added that the parties will also discuss efforts to establish a humanitarian corridor in Ukraine.

“There are prisoners in Russia. There are also problems for women, children,” said Lubinets. “At these meetings we can find solutions for the civilian population and captured soldiers.”

Russian human rights commissioner Tatiana Moskalkova also confirmed the talks, as Russian state media reported that she would travel to Turkey later this week.

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Along with Saudi Arabia, Turkey brokered a major prisoner exchange between Ukraine and Russia in September last year. Moscow handed over more than 200 Ukrainians and 10 foreign nationals in exchange for the release of 50 Russian and pro-Russian fighters, including Viktor Medvedchuk, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Tuesday, at a joint presser with his South African counterpart Naledi Pandor in Pretoria, that Turkey continues its engagements with Kyiv and Moscow on a number of issues.

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Turkey has also hosted two rounds of direct peace talks between Russia and Ukraine so far. Top Russian and Ukrainian diplomats met in Turkey last March in the first high-level contacts between the two warring nations since Russia’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine. Russian and Ukrainian diplomats met in Istanbul that same month for fresh talks.

Turkey brokered a UN-agreement between the two countries in July to allow Ukrainian grain and other products to reach world markets through a safe corridor established in the Black Sea to prevent a global food crisis.


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