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Ukraine war

Turkey does not recognize Russian moves on Ukraine: Erdogan to Putin

Turkish president repeats his offer to help solve the crisis

Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi, in September 2021. (Sputnik via Reuters)

ANKARA (Reuters) -- President Tayyip Erdogan told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Wednesday that Turkey did not recognize steps against Ukraine's territorial integrity, his office said, after Russia recognized two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine.

Putin's decision prompted a wave of sanctions from Western powers on Russia. NATO member Turkey, which is a neighbor of Ukraine and Russia in the Black Sea, opposes sanctions in principle, but has called the Russian move unacceptable, while offering to mediate.

In a call, Erdogan told Putin that military conflict in the region would not benefit anyone and repeated his offer to help solve the crisis, his office said in a statement, adding Erdogan said he valued Putin's close cooperation on regional issues and wanted to continue this.

"President Erdogan, who renewed his call for the matter to be resolved through dialogue, stated that it was important to bring diplomacy to the forefront, and that [Turkey] continued its constructive stance in NATO as well."

Putin expressed disappointment to Erdogan at what he said were attempts by Washington and NATO to ignore Russia's security demands, Interfax cited the Kremlin as saying.

Earlier, Erdogan was cited by media as saying Turkey cannot abandon its ties with Russia or Ukraine, and criticised Western diplomatic efforts with Moscow as achieving little.

"It is not possible for us to abandon either [country]," he was cited as saying by Turkish broadcasters, and called on both Ukraine and Russia to resume negotiations, while urging NATO to "determine its stance" and "do whatever it will" after a summit on Wednesday.

"Our aim is that we take such a step that, God willing, we sort this out without abandoning either one."

Separately, Ukrainian Ambassador to Turkey Vasyl Bodnar told Reuters that Kyiv viewed the presence of Russian warships in the Black Sea coasts near Ukraine as a threat, and that Ukraine will ask Ankara to consider shutting its two straits to Russian ships if Moscow invades

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