• Fri. Jul 1st, 2022

Ukraine counts on Turkey’s support and leadership: Zelenskyy

ByJulie J. Helfer

Apr 6, 2022

Ukraine trusts Turkey’s support and leadership, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Tuesday amid the ongoing war with Russia.

Speaking to Turkish broadcaster Habertürk, Zelenskyy referred to negotiations with Russia and said Ukraine had received guarantees from representatives of some states.

“They said they were ready to host meetings. Some countries said they volunteered to be guarantors. The US, UK, Turkey, Poland, Germany, France and Israel are among those countries. They have said they are ready for this. During the meetings, we will talk about what the security guarantees are. The guarantees will be clear. Negotiations with Russia will follow.” , did he declare.

“We count on Turkey’s full support. We trust the Turkish leadership,” he added.

Emphasizing that they must seize every opportunity to build dialogue and end the war, he said, “The situation is difficult without dialogue. It will not be possible to stop the war without dialogue. Yet there are many rulers in the world. trying to mediate. Turkey and its leader are among those people. It plays the role of intermediary in several ways. We see that Turkey is helping us.

“If Turkey were Ukraine, we would support it. It may take time, but we cannot wait too long. We are at war now and our people are dying. We absolutely must hold this meeting as soon as possible. possible. Then we will sit down for the meeting with Russia. We count on the full support of Turkey. We also count on the support of the Turkish leadership. We would have helped if it had been the case in Turkey anyway.” , said Zelenskyy.

Turkey’s delicately balanced act of assuming a mediating role by keeping the channels of communication open with the two warring parties offers a ray of hope in diplomatic efforts to find a solution and achieve peace in the Ukraine crisis. . With its unique position of maintaining friendly relations with Russia and Ukraine, Turkey has been widely praised for its efforts to end the war.

More recently, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reiterated his offer to host Zelenskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin for talks aimed at securing peace between Ukraine and Russia. Erdoğan expressed hope that a possible summit between the two leaders in Istanbul could end the war. He added that Putin and Zelensky must take action regarding Donbass and Crimea.

The conditions regarding these two regions are still obstacles between the two warring parties in the negotiations, and Ukraine perceives Russian demands on the two regions as violations of its own territorial integrity.

The venue for a meeting between Putin and Zelensky would most likely be Turkey, Interfax Ukraine quoted Ukrainian negotiator Davyd Arakhamia as saying last week.

Putin and Zelenskyy are expected to meet in Turkey “with a high degree of probability”, the agency reported, citing Arakhamia. He said the negotiator told Ukrainian television that a time and place for a meeting had not been set.

Both sides described the negotiations over the past few days as difficult. The discussions are a combination of face-to-face sessions in Turkey and virtual meetings.

In a breakthrough, Russian and Ukrainian delegations met for peace talks in Istanbul on March 29 as the war entered its second month and casualties piled up on both sides.

During the talks, Ukrainian officials indicated they were ready to negotiate “neutral status”, a key Russian demand, but demanded security guarantees for their country.

Russia, meanwhile, has pledged to drastically reduce its military activities towards the Ukrainian cities of Kyiv and Chernihiv in order to build confidence for future negotiations.

Ukraine wants to see countries, including Turkey, as guarantors of a deal with Russia, a Ukrainian negotiator said after the talks.

Turkey also hosted the foreign ministers of Russia and Ukraine in Antalya earlier this month. Foreign Ministers Sergei Lavrov of Russia and Dmytro Kuleba of Ukraine met in the Turkish resort town of Antalya for talks, which Turkey’s top diplomat Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also attended. The talks have been largely inconclusive, but Ankara considers the talks to have taken place a success.

Evacuations from Mariupol

The Ukrainian president also spoke about efforts to evacuate residents of the besieged city of Mariupol.

“We are currently working on the evacuation of the wounded in the city of Mariupol. Turkey is playing an important role. Turkish ships are being used for the evacuation. moment. We must continue our negotiations. Our goal should be to protect the lives of our citizens,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Zelenskyy also said Turkey was ready to evacuate wounded and dead defenders from the besieged city of Mariupol by boat.

Zelenskyy said an agreement had been reached with Turkey to transport the wounded and dead from Mariupol by boat to Berdyansk, a coastal town about 69 kilometers (43.3 miles) away.

“We are waiting for (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s approval. This moment depends on him,” he told Ukrainian reporters.

He added that all the infrastructure is ready to evacuate the wounded and dead from Mariupol.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar also said Turkey could provide ships to support the evacuation of civilians and wounded from Mariupol.

Turkey has been one of the countries leading efforts to find a diplomatic solution to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, which has affected millions of civilians. Ankara has offered to facilitate peace talks between Ukraine and Russia, but argues that a ceasefire and humanitarian corridors are needed first.

Maintaining its neutral and balanced position, Turkey continues its diplomatic efforts to defuse the Ukrainian conflict, urging all parties to exercise restraint. While Ankara has opposed international sanctions aimed at isolating Moscow, it has also closed its straits to prevent some Russian ships from crossing them. A NATO ally, Turkey borders Ukraine and Russia in the Black Sea and enjoys good relations with both.

Since the beginning of the conflict, Ankara has underlined its support for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine. After calling the Russian invasion an unacceptable violation of international law, Turkey has carefully crafted its rhetoric so as not to offend Moscow, with which it has close ties in energy, defense and tourism. Erdoğan has repeatedly said that Turkey will not abandon relations with Russia or Ukraine, stressing that Ankara’s ability to talk to both sides is an asset.

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