Growing evidence of atrocities against Ukrainian civilians in Bucha after Russian forces withdrew has hampered Turkey’s peace efforts to broker a ceasefire, a Turkish official said.
Peace talks between Ukraine and Russia had shown signs of progress last week, with Moscow saying it was ending military operations around the capital kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv.
However, images and footage of dozens of bodies around the northern town of Bucha, where Russian forces retreated last week, have shocked the world. Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said the number of civilian casualties in Borodyanka, another town on the outskirts of kyiv, is likely to be higher than in Bucha.
Ibrahim Kalin, senior adviser to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said the chilling images of the massacres had affected Ukraine’s willingness to continue negotiations.
“We are all outraged by the images of … human rights violations and possible war crimes,” he said. Financial times.
He said the atrocities risked stalling the peace talks, “especially on the Ukrainian side”, as they “may pause for a few days and then regroup”.
Kalin said the killings of civilians made it “more difficult” to continue negotiations as before, adding: “Ukrainians are devastated, like all of us… these are truly horrific, totally unacceptable and inhumane actions and whoever did this must be brought ‘to justice’.
He added that he did not expect a “big breakthrough” in the talks in the coming days “but maybe in a week or two we will see some movement again.”
His remarks come as Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday that the killings of civilians in Ukraine had made peace talks between Moscow and Kyiv difficult, but that he expected further talks, possibly possibly between Ministers of Foreign Affairs.
However, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba urged NATO to get more weapons to help Ukraine win its war against Russia.
“I came here today to discuss the three most important things: guns, guns and guns. Ukraine’s urgent needs, supply sustainability and long-term solutions that will help Ukraine win,” Kuleba wrote in a tweet, during discussions with G7 countries and NATO. Thursday.
The Kremlin said on Wednesday peace talks between Moscow and Kyiv were not moving as fast as it would like, with Russia accusing the West of trying to derail the peace talks by fueling “hysteria” around the charges of war crimes by Russian forces.
Moscow denies committing war crimes and called the charges a “monstrous forgery”.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “The only thing I can say is that the work (on the talks) is continuing.
“There is still a long way to go. The work process is underway, but it is dragging on much longer than we would like.”
Ukrainian and Russian negotiators held the first face-to-face talks in more than two weeks in Istanbul last week. Turkey borders Ukraine and Russia on the Black Sea and has good relations with both countries.
Kalin said security guarantees and territorial issues related to Crimea and the Donbass region in eastern Ukraine “are the two main remaining issues”.
Moscow has demanded that kyiv cede the Donbass region to Russian-backed separatists and that Crimea, which it seized and annexed in 2014, be incorporated into Russia.
The Donbass regions of Donetsk and Luhansk are seeing the worst of the fighting after Russian forces withdrew from the area around kyiv, where civilians were told to flee ahead of a possible Russian offensive.