Turkey invites Russia & Ukraine for peace talks
As Ukraine claims that Russia could be poised to invade, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has invited the leaders of both nations to come to his country to try to settle their differences diplomatically.
Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesperson for Erdogan, announced the offer on Wednesday, saying that Turkey would like to assist in de-escalating the situation.
“President Erdogan has invited both leaders to come to Turkey and have a meeting to solve their problems and differences,” Kalin stated. “Turkey is prepared to play any role in reducing tensions between Russia and Ukraine.”
He noted that Erdogan is planning a trip to Kiev in the coming weeks. “At the same time, we will be in close contact with Russia, in order to avoid any type of military action, which could have serious consequences,” he added.
The spokesman also warned that Russia’s relationship with the West is ripe for tensions even outside of the current situation. “Even if today’s crisis can be solved, there will be more conflict in the future, movement and shifting, or different threat assessments, even if not in the form of traditional military action. The dialogue between Russia and the Western alliance has only just begun, although it should have been done already.”
Responding to the invitation later the same day, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russia would only welcome Ankara's efforts if Turkey resolved to pressure Kiev to deliver on the terms of the Minsk Accords. Penned in 2014, the deal was designed to calm tensions in the wartorn Donbass. However, Moscow insists Ukrainian officials ar refusing to honor the agreement by holding talks with separatist leaders. Kiev insists the two self-declared breakaway regions are effectively controlled by Russia.
Ukrainian and American intelligence services have been warning since November that they fear Russia is planning an invasion of its neighbor, an allegation that the Kremlin has repeatedly denied. Moscow, meanwhile, has called for written guarantees that US-led military bloc NATO will not expand into Ukraine or Georgia, two countries that share borders with Russia.
Representatives from Russia, NATO, and the US met in Europe last week to discuss their security concerns. American leaders have ruled out the possibility of limiting NATO expansion, and Kremlin officials, including President Vladimir Putin, have said they may be forced to take unspecified “military-technical” measures if their demands are not met.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Kiev on Wednesday to discuss the crisis with Ukrainian leaders, and will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva on Friday.