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29 Feb, 2024 01:47

Türkiye offers to host Russia-Ukraine talks

Ankara has repeatedly sought to act as mediator since Kiev derailed the last round of negotiations less than a month into the conflict
Türkiye offers to host Russia-Ukraine talks

Ankara is ready to act as an intermediary for peace talks between Russia and Ukraine once again, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday. He was speaking ahead of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s visit to Türkiye and the Antalya Diplomacy Forum later this week.

With the Russia-Ukraine conflict now in its third year, diplomacy and dialogue should be given a chance for a “fair and lasting resolution,” Erdogan said.

“To achieve this goal, utilizing diplomatic channels at the highest level from every possible avenue is of great importance,” Erdogan declared in Wednesday’s video message to the Ukraine-Southeast Europe Summit in Albania, where Ukrainian President Zelensky has been attempting to drum up support for Kiev’s war efforts.

Zelensky has approached Balkan states at the Summit with offers of starting joint arms production. Ukraine is interested in co-production as it is currently experiencing “problems with the supply of ammunition,” which worsens the “situation on the battlefield.”

The Turkish leader, meanwhile, said that insufficient effort has been made towards bringing Russia and Ukraine together and attempting to establish a peaceful discourse. He reiterated “Türkiye’s support for Ukraine’s independence, sovereignty, security, and territorial integrity,” adding that he supports Zelensky’s 10-step peace formula “in principle.”

Moscow has repeatedly insisted that it is still ready to settle the hostilities through negotiations, blaming the lack of any diplomatic breakthrough on Kiev. It has previously dismissed Zelensky’s peace formula as an “absurd” ultimatum, as it includes the non-negotiable return of all former Ukrainian territories, as well as the withdrawal of all Russian troops without preconditions.

Türkiye played a major role in brokering prisoner swaps between Russia and Ukraine, and hosted a round of talks between Moscow and Kiev in the spring of 2022. According to Moscow, the sides were close to signing an agreement, but the talks were sabotaged by then-UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who advised Kiev to keep fighting.

Should Russia and Ukraine ever return to the negotiating table, the potential talks will not be the same, as Kiev will have to accept the “new reality,” the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier this month, apparently referring to the incorporation of four former Ukrainian regions – Zaporozhye and Kherson, as well as DPR and LPR – into Russia following referendums in late 2022.