Ukraine working with Turkey and Israel to set up talks with Russia

Ukraine is working with Turkey and Israel as mediators to finalize the framework and location for potential peace talks with Russia, a Ukrainian presidential adviser said on March 13.

A Ukrainian soldier holds a light anti-tank weapon in Irpin on March 12.

Duvar English 

Ukraine is working with Turkey and Israel as mediators to finalize a location and framework for peace negotiations with Russia, Ukrainian presidential adviser and negotiator Mykhailo Podolyak said on March 13. 

"When it is worked out, there will be a meeting. I think it won't take long for us to get there," Podolyak said on national television, according to reporting by Reuters. 

Meanwhile, Ukraine on March 12 pushed back against a media report suggesting Israel tried to nudge Ukraine into caving to Russian demands during talks.

Israel has been engaged in diplomatic efforts to try to end the war in Ukraine. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and spoke by phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

A report carried by Israel's Walla news, The Jerusalem Post and US news site Axios had suggested, citing an unidentified Ukrainian official, that Bennett had urged Ukraine to give in to Russia. 

Israel, "just as other conditional intermediary countries, does NOT offer Ukraine to agree to any demands of the Russian Federation," Podolyak said on Twitter. "This is impossible for military & political reasons. On the contrary, Israel urges Russia to assess the events more adequately."

Podolyak's announcement came after top Russian and Ukrainian diplomats met in Turkey's southern province of Antalya last week. 

During the talks between Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on March 12, the two sides failed to find any breakthrough to halt the fighting, as Kuleba said Russia insists on Ukraine's surrender and rejects calls for a ceasefire.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said that the meeting between Kuleba and Lavrov was civil despite all the difficulties and the most important outcome of the talks was establishing contact. 

Turkey, which shares a maritime border with Russia and Ukraine in the Black Sea and has good ties with both, has called Russia's invasion unacceptable and appealed for an urgent ceasefire but has opposed sanctions on Moscow.