Weeks after the Russian invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022, diplomats from both sides met for peace talks. Then the world learned about Russia’s massacre in Bucha.

Did Ukraine Miss an Early Chance to Negotiate Peace With Russia?

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan C meets with Russian and Ukrainian delegations before a fresh round of face-to-face peace talks in Istanbul, Turkey, March 29, 2022. Russia and Ukraine have concluded their fresh round of face-to-face peace talks here on Tuesday, which lasted for approximately three hours, according to media reports. Before the meeting, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the time had come for talks to yield concrete results. The Turkish leader called for an immediate ceasefire and said a prolonged conflict is not in anyone’s interest. (Photo by Xinhua via Getty Images)

The lead Ukrainian negotiator, David Arakhamia, pointed to a bottle of sanitizing gel on the table, covered by a crisp white cloth, as Russian and Ukrainian peace delegations gathered in Istanbul’s Dolmabahçe Palace.

“That’s an antiseptic,” Arakhamia told his Russian counterpart, President Vladimir Putin’s adviser Vladimir Medinsky.

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