Ukrainian minister recalls Antalya meeting: Wanted to punch him in the face
The Foreign Minister of Ukraine expressed his desire to punch Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in the face during their meeting in the early stages of Moscow's invasion.
In an informal hour-long interview with a Ukrainian video blogger, published on Monday, Dmytro Kuleba made striking remarks. "The toughest meetings are when you want to punch the person opposite you in the nose but can't actually do it. I can say this happened two or three times. One of them was with Lavrov in Antalya in the spring of 2022," Kuleba said.
According to Independent Türkçe, Ukrainian and Russian ministerial delegations held several rounds of talks shortly after Russia sent troops into Ukraine in February 2022.
The initial talks were held near Ukraine's border with Belarus, followed by another round in Turkey.
At that time, Kuleba described the talks in Turkey as difficult, noting that negotiators discussed ceasefires and organizing humanitarian aid corridors.
Moscow officials viewed Kuleba's comments about wanting to "punch" Lavrov as a potential propaganda opportunity. Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Mariya Zaharova, in her comments published in the Russian newspaper Izvestia, said these words showed Ukraine was governed by "uneducated, aggressive people."
Since the talks in Turkey, the administration of Volodymyr Zelenskiy has maintained it will not accept any ceasefire or peace agreement that allows Russia to keep any of the territories it has seized in the nearly two-year-long war.
Instead, Ukraine has proposed a 10-point peace plan that includes the return of all Ukrainian territories, including the Crimean Peninsula, illegally annexed by Russia in 2014.