PARIS - Russia entered negotiations with Ukraine only days after invading the country but experts say the ongoing talks are unlikely to yield progress until one side feels it has momentum on the battlefield.

The latest attempts at finding a negotiated end to the bloodshed saw the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers sit down for talks on Thursday in the Turkish resort city of Antalya.

Although there was no breakthrough, Ukrainian President Zelensky said on Saturday there had been a “fundamentally different approach” from the Russians in the latest discussions, while Putin claimed there were “some positive shifts” in the dialogue. Experts say Russia’s approach has so far entailed making ultimatums, insisting that Ukraine agree to de-militarise, renounce its ambitions to join NATO, and recognise Russian territorial claims in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine rejects these demands and there appears to be little incentive for anyone to compromise until one side builds a dominant military position. “It’s a kind of deadlock or standstill because Russia still hopes that Ukraine will accept its demands,” said Oleg Ignatov, a Russia specialist at the International Crisis Group (ICG), a think-tank.

“Both sides consider the military scenario as the main scenario: Ukraine is not losing this war and Russia is not winning this war.”

Natia Seskuria, a Russia expert at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), a British think-tank, said it was hard to imagine a diplomatic solution when the two sides are struggling to agree on humanitarian corridors or even temporary local ceasefires.

“I think that at this point Russia is trying to achieve its maximalist goals in Ukraine, and if they’re able to force the Ukrainians at the diplomatic table to accept these terms, then of course Russia will get what it wants,” she said.

“But if they are unable to do so, then the war will continue”

Michel Duclos, a veteran French ambassador now at the Montaigne Institute, a Paris-based think-tank, agreed that the diplomatic track was of secondary importance at present relative to what happens on the ground.

Russian troops are believed to have sustained heavy material losses and casualties, with Zelensky claiming Saturday that more than 12,000 had been killed -- three times the upper estimate from the United States.

But the Russians are continuing to grind forward in the south, east and around the capital Kyiv.

“(Moscow has) a conception of diplomacy which amounts to making the other side give in. It’s a sort of diplomacy of ultimatums,” Duclos said.

“We’re at a stage where the Russians are blowing hot and cold but are sticking by this approach of making ultimatums,” he added.

The discussions in Turkey last week were aimed at “creating some confusion both for the outside world and for the Ukrainians”, he said.

Seskuria from RUSI said the talks also served the Kremlin domestically by appearing to reinforce Putin’s justification for the war -- that Moscow had no alternative because of the threat posed by Ukraine.

“Russia also wants a pretext to say that they tried diplomacy, and that diplomacy failed because Ukraine was unwilling to accept their demands, and that’s why they had to continue with the military option,” she said.

But the talks also enable both sides to scope out the negotiating positions of the other.

“The Ukrainians need to know exactly where the Russians are,” Duclos said.

He believes Moscow might suggest a new format for discussions modelled on the so-called Astana process, which attempted to bring an end to Syria’s civil war.

The talks brought together Russia, Iran and Turkey, as well as Syrian parties.

Such an approach “would have the merit of giving the impression that a peace process exists, while also excluding the West”, Duclos said.

Zelensky has argued that the West needs to be more involved in finding a diplomatic end to the war and has said Ukraine will need security guarantees after the war -- if his government survives.