Turkey says Bucha killings 'overshadow' Russia-Ukraine talks
Images of bodies found in the Ukrainian town of Bucha and other areas near Kyiv in the wake of a Russian pullback, have scuppered the positive atmosphere of recent talks between Russia and Ukraine, Turkey said Thursday.
NATO member Turkey, which has friendly ties to Russia and Ukraine, has been mediating for an end to the six-week war.
"The images from Bucha, Irpin and other regions are unacceptable. These scenes have overshadowed the negotiations," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told journalists after a NATO meeting in Brussels.
"The emerging positive atmosphere, unfortunately, was overshadowed".
Turkey hosted talks last week between Russian and Ukrainian negotiators. On 31 March, Cavusoglu had said the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers could meet within two weeks.
The images from Bucha emerged last weekend. Ukrainian officials have accused Russia of killing hundreds of civilians in the wider region around Kyiv. Russia denies the accusations.
The Turkish foreign minister insisted Thursday that talks would continue, adding that Russia and Ukraine looked "warmly" towards Turkey hosting another round of negotiations.
Earlier on Thursday, Russia accused Ukrainian negotiators of changing demands since the Istanbul talks, claiming that Kyiv was not interested in ending fighting.
Ukraine urged Russia to show it was ready for dialogue by lowering "hostility".
Cavusoglu said he met Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Brussels and told him the scenes from Bucha were "shameful in the name of humanity".
Separately, Cavusoglu said he would visit Washington on May 18 at the invitation of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken for talks intended to focus on settling a dispute over the sale of F-16 fighters.
Washington excluded Ankara from NATO's F-35 stealth fighter jet programme in 2019 after Turkey purchased Russian S-400 defence air systems in defiance of warnings from its Western allies.
The acquisition has imperilled Turkish-US relations and blocked Turkey's plans to purchase about 100 of the F-35 fighters.
Turkey is hoping to buy F-16s to upgrade its air force fleet.
"The talks about the purchase of F-16s are continuing positively," Cavusoglu said.