Turkey rejects annexation of Ukrainian territory by Russia


ISTANBUL, Oct 1 (Reuters) – Turkey’s foreign ministry said on Saturday it rejected Russia’s annexation of four regions of Ukraine, adding the move was a “serious breach” of international law.

NATO member Turkey has been engaged in a diplomatic balancing act since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. Ankara opposes Western sanctions against Russia and has close ties with Moscow and Kyiv, its Black Sea neighbors. He also criticized the Russian invasion and sent armed drones to Ukraine.

Turkey’s ministry said on Saturday it did not recognize Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea, adding it rejected Russia’s decision to annex the four regions, Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia .

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“This decision, which constitutes a serious violation of established principles of international law, cannot be accepted,” the ministry said.

“We reiterate our support for the resolution of this war, whose gravity continues to grow, based on a just peace that will be achieved through negotiations,” he added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday proclaimed the annexation of the regions, promising that Moscow would triumph in its “special military operation” even as it faced yet another potentially serious military setback.

Its proclamation came after Russia held what it called referendums in occupied areas of Ukraine. Western and Kyiv governments said the votes violated international law and were coercive and unrepresentative.

The United States, Britain and Canada announced new sanctions in response.

Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskiy said on Friday his country had submitted an accelerated application to join the NATO military alliance and would not hold peace talks with Russia while Putin was still president.

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Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen Editing by Frances Kerry

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