Russia's Lavrov Says Ukraine Used Children's Hospital as Base for Ultra-Radical Azov Battalion

Ukraine-Russia ministerial-level talks held in Turkey have failed. Ukrainian foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba said no progress was made in the meeting. His talks with Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov was the first high-level discussion between the two countries since the start of the war last month.

Hospital Mariupol
A patient who was badly wounded during the bombing on the maternity hospital in Mariupol Twitter

"We also talked on the cease-fire but no progress was accomplished on that," Kuleba said, according to CBZ. He also accused Moscow of bringing little more than "traditional narratives" to the table, the outlet reported.

Hospital Bombing

Meanwhile, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said that Ukraine's charge that Russia bombed a hospital was a false narrative. He dismissed the allegation as lies and propaganda.

"It is not the first time we see pathetic outcries over so-called atrocities by Russia," Lavrov said. He said the hospital building was being used as a base by an "ultra-radical" Ukrainian battalion.

Putin says will not expel US diplomats
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrive for a meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, November 8, 2016. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Earlier Kuleba had discounted hopes on the outcome of the talks. Speaking before the talks he had said in a Facebook video that his expectations were "limited". He had pointed out that Russia was continuing the bombing campaign and attack on the cities.

Kuleba said the success of the talks would depend on "what instructions and directives Lavrov is under" from the Kremlin. "I am not pinning any great hopes on them, but we will try and get the most out of the talks," he said, according to AFP.

For the Russian foreign minister, the visit to Turkey was the first travel abroad after the war began. Lavrov arrived in Turkey's Antalya late on Wednesday.

Why Turkey?

While Turkey is a traditional ally of Ukraine, it also wants to keep friendly relations with Russia. Turkey is dependent on Russia for its gas supplies, while Ankara supplies crucial military hardware like the Bayraktar drones to Ukraine.

Turkish President Erdogan had criticised Russia for the invasion, saying the attack was "unacceptable". However, Turkey did not join the Western powers in rolling out sanctions against Russia.