Erdogan takes stance on Russia’s Ukraine offensive
Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan condemned Russia for its attack against Ukraine on Thursday. Ankara considers both Moscow and Kiev friends and “feels true regret” over their military conflict, the Turkish leader said as quoted by the Anadolu news agency. Russia’s operation “violates international law and poses a threat to regional stability,” according to Erdogan.
The Turkish leader chaired a National Security Council meeting after talking to his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky on the phone on Thursday. Ankara called on Moscow to seek reconciliation with Kiev based on the 2015 Minsk agreement. The document, which Russia helped mediate, outlined a roadmap to peace between Kiev and the two Donbass regions which rebelled against the central Ukrainian government in 2014 after an armed coup in Kiev.
On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said the agreements between Ukraine and its breakaway regions of Donetsk and Lugansk were as good as dead because Kiev had refused to implement its part of the bargain for seven years. This was part of the justification for Russia’s recognition of the rebellious regions as sovereign states.
Thursday’s attack was partially intended to protect the newly recognized Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics from continued harassment by Ukrainian forces, the Russian leader said on Monday morning, as he announced the Russian attack on Ukraine. Moscow seeks to dismantle the Ukrainian military and “denazify” the nation, he stated.
The Turkish leadership vowed on Thursday to continue supporting Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Ankara said it would take action to ensure the safety of Turkish citizens in Ukraine, as well as Ukrainian Crimean Tatars, whom the Turks consider a brotherly people.