In a speech he delivered at the start Tuesday, Erdogan said progress in the talks could pave the way for a meeting between the two countries’ leaders.
“We believe that there will be no losers in a just peace. Prolonging the conflict is not in anyone’s interest,” Erdogan said. “As members of the delegations you have taken on a historic responsibility. The whole world is awaiting the good news that will come from you.”
The delegations are scheduled to hold two days of talks in a government building adjacent to the 19th-century Ottoman palace, Dolmabahce, on the shores of the Bosporus.
Earlier talks between the sides, held in person in Belarus or by video, failed to make progress on ending the monthlong war that has killed thousands and driven more than 10 million Ukrainians from their homes — including almost 4 million from their country.
Ahead of the talks, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said his country is prepared to declare its neutrality, as Moscow has demanded, and is open to compromise on the fate of the Donbas, the contested region in the country’s east.
KEY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR:
— A new round of talks aimed at stopping the war in Ukraine is scheduled for Tuesday
— Asian shares rose ahead of Russia-Ukraine peace talks
— Ukrainian forces say they have retaken a Kyiv suburb and an eastern town from the Russians
KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s military says Russia has destroyed more than 60 religious buildings across the country in just over a month of war.
In a post Tuesday, the military said the Orthodox church — the country’s majority religion — was the most affected but that mosques, synagogues, Protestant churches and religious schools were also destroyed.
In a map provided by the military, the destruction appears concentrated around Kyiv and in the country’s east.
UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations chief has launched an initiative to immediately explore possible arrangements for “a humanitarian cease-fire in Ukraine” in order to allow the delivery of desperately needed aid and pave the way for serious political negotiations to end the monthlong war.
Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Monday he asked Undersecretary-General Martin Griffiths, the head of the U.N.’s worldwide humanitarian operations, to explore the possibility of a cease-fire with Russia and Ukraine. He said Griffiths has already made some contacts.
The 193-member U.N. General Assembly, by an overwhelming majority of about 140 nations, has called for an immediate cessation of hostilities in Ukraine twice — on March 2 and on March 24 — and Guterres told reporters he thinks “this is the moment” for the United Nations “to assume the initiative.”
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, the secretary-general said there has been a “senseless loss of thousands of lives,” displacement of 10 million people, systematic destruction of homes, schools, hospitals and other essential infrastructure, “and skyrocketing food and energy prices worldwide.”
LVIV, Ukraine — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said late Monday that Russian forces are still attacking Kyiv, despite being driven out of Irpin, a suburb northwest of the capital that has seen heavy fighting.
He said the Russians remain in control of northern suburbs and are trying to regroup after losing Irpin on Monday. He urged Ukrainians not to let up in the war.
“We still have to fight, we have to endure,” Zelenskyy said in his nighttime video address to the nation. “We can’t express our emotions now. We can’t raise expectations, simply so that we don’t burn out.”
He said the situation remains tense in the northeast, around Chernihiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, and also in the eastern Donbas region and in the south around Mariupol, which remains blockaded by Russian troops.
The president said no humanitarian corridors could be opened Monday out of the besieged city.
Zelenskyy said he spoke Monday with the leaders of Azerbaijan, Britain, Canada and Germany, urging them to strengthen the sanctions against Russia.
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon may have to ask Congress for additional money to support Ukraine’s battle against Russia’s invasion, including to replenish America’s arsenal for weapons sent to Kyiv, officials said Monday.
Rolling out the Defense Department’s $773 billion request for fiscal 2023, Pentagon leaders said the budget was finalized before the invasion so it has no specific money for the war. Congress approved a $13.5 billion emergency funding package in early March.
The leaders said it was too early to predict how quickly Ukrainian forces will use up the weapons and ammunition already being provided, and how much the U.S. will need to replace what it sends to Ukraine, such as Stinger and Javelin missiles or body armor and other equipment.
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