Russia, Ukraine warm to Turkey to help ease tensions – Turkish sources


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers his speech at the Albanian Parliament, in Tirana, Albania January 17, 2022 REUTERS/Florion Goga/File Photo

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  • Turkey in talks to host Minsk Group meeting
  • Turkish leader to visit Ukraine in early February
  • Erdogan hopes to reunite Russian and Ukrainian leaders

ANKARA, Jan 20 (Reuters) – Russia and Ukraine are both open to the idea of ​​Turkey playing a role in easing tensions between the two countries, as proposed by Ankara in November, officials said on Thursday. Turkish diplomatic sources.

Turkey is also in talks on hosting the next OSCE Minsk Group meeting, during which Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region will be discussed, the sources told reporters on condition of anonymity.

No date was set for a meeting in Istanbul, but representatives from Russia, Ukraine, the OSCE Minsk Group and Donbass were expected, they said, adding that the group would meet “frequently”.

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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the RIA news agency that there were no preparations for such a meeting.

“There is nothing about this meeting,” he said, adding that Ukraine failed to respect the Minsk agreements on settling the conflict with pro-Moscow rebels, while Ukraine is supplied with weapons.

Western countries say they fear Russia is planning another assault on Ukraine after massing tens of thousands of troops near the border in recent months. Moscow denies planning an attack.

“Both Russia and Ukraine are in favor of Turkey’s mediation,” one of the sources said.

Turkey, a member of NATO, has good relations with Kiev and Moscow, but opposes Russian policies in Syria and Libya, as well as its annexation of the Crimean peninsula in 2014. read more

President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday he would visit Ukraine in early February and hoped to reunite Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy soon.

“A psychology of war in the region upsets us, as a country that has ties with both sides. Our wish is to reunite Mr. Putin and Mr. Zelenskiy as soon as possible,” Erdogan told a conference in press in Ankara.

Ukraine welcomed Turkey’s involvement in negotiations with Russia. Zelenskiy said in November that he had asked Erdogan to forward a list of prisoners to Putin for a possible prisoner exchange, although the exchange never took place.

Ukraine also bought Turkish drones to use in its war against Russian-backed forces in eastern Ukraine, angering Moscow, and struck a deal with Ankara on local drone manufacturing This year.

Ankara said two months ago it was ready to mediate in the crisis, an offer Moscow rejected at the time. He also said sanctions against Russia were not a solution, although the European Union on Thursday threatened “massive” sanctions in the event of an attack. Read more

Speaking about Turkey’s proposals, Peskov told reporters on Wednesday: “If our Turkish partners are able to influence Kyiv and the implementation of previously reached agreements, that could only be welcome.”

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Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; additional reporting by Natalia Zinets in Kyiv, Dmitry Antonov and Vladimir Soldatkin in Moscow, Daren Butler in Istanbul; Editing by Jonathan Spicer, Toby Chopra and Jonathan Oatis

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