War in Ukraine can’t be ended by ignoring Russia, Erdogan aide says

Combat engineers from pro-Russian forces participate in an anti-personnel mine demining operation during the Ukraine-Russia conflict in Ukraine’s Donetsk, July 31, 2022. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

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ANKARA, Aug. 5 (Reuters) – A top aide to the Turkish president said Friday that the international community cannot end the war in Ukraine by ignoring Moscow, while Tayyip Erdogan went to Russia to meet his counterpart Vladimir Putin.

The meeting, which took place in Tehran less than three weeks ago, comes after Turkey helped negotiate a deal to resume Ukrainian grain exports from the Black Sea, which had been blocked by the Russian invasion. read more

Turkish Presidential Communications Director Fahrettin Altun said the agreement is a testament to the success of NATO member Turkey’s efforts and direct diplomacy between the two leaders, while criticizing the role other countries are playing.

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“The truth is, some of our friends don’t want the war to end. They’re shedding crocodile tears,” Altun told Reuters, saying some were actively trying to undermine Turkey’s efforts without identifying who.

“The international community cannot end the war in Ukraine by ignoring Russia. Diplomacy and peace must prevail,” he said.

Erdogan was set to meet with Putin on Friday afternoon, ahead of a meeting between delegations from the two countries.

Turkey has relatively good relations with both Ukraine and Russia. But while it has criticized the invasion and provided Ukraine with weapons, it has broken with Western allies by failing to impose sanctions on Russia.

“We are trying to leverage Turkey’s relations with Russia and Ukraine to work towards a mutually acceptable solution,” Altun . said

While there is close cooperation with Russia on energy supplies, there is also military competition between them in Syria, Libya and Azerbaijan.

Friday’s talks between Erdogan and Putin would also likely center on Turkey’s threat to launch new military operations in Syria to expand “safe zones” at the border 30km (20 miles) deep.

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Reporting by Orhan Coskun; Written by Daren Butler; Editing by Dominic Evans

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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