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Ukraine war

Japan, Turkey say invasion of Ukraine breaches international law

Foreign ministers condemn Russia's military action at meeting

Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi, left, and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu at their meeting in Antalya, southwestern Turkey, on March 19. (Photo courtesy of the Foreign Ministry of Japan)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu on Saturday condemned Russia's invasion of Ukraine as violating international law that bans the use of force and undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Eastern European country.

The ministers agreed to closely cooperate in maintaining the international order, Hayashi said at a joint press conference with Cavusoglu after their talks in Antalya, southwestern Turkey, demanding that Russian President Vladimir Putin halt the illegal acts in Ukraine.

They also affirmed coordination in reforming the United Nations, given that veto power by Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council, has made the top U.N. decision-making body ineffective in addressing the war in Ukraine, according to Cavusoglu.

"It is important that the international community respond to Russia in unison," Hayashi said.

The meeting came as Tokyo has been ramping up pressure on Moscow over the invasion of Ukraine through economic sanctions in lockstep with the United States and other members of the Group of Seven industrialized nations.

Turkey, however, has opposed sanctions against Russia, although President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called Moscow's aggression in its neighbor "unacceptable."

In Saturday's meeting, Hayashi expressed his "deep gratitude and respect" to Turkey for its diplomatic efforts to mediate between Russia and Ukraine by using close ties with both of them.

Sharing the border with Russia and Ukraine in the Black Sea, Turkey, a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, has been offering to mediate between Moscow and Kyiv.

Last week, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Antalya through the intermediation of Cavusoglu.

But the first cease-fire talks between the two top diplomats since the start of the war on Feb. 24 ended up without any progress.

Hayashi is on a four-day, two-nation tour through Monday that will also take him to the United Arab Emirates where he plans to meet his counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Sunday, according to the Foreign Ministry.

In the wake of Russia's attack on Ukraine, Japan has been stepping up diplomacy, with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida visiting India and Cambodia this weekend for meetings with their leaders.

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