Putin and Erdoğan, Russia and Turkey

Erdoğan asks Putin for a ceasefire to end the war in Ukraine

Putin says he is ready to negotiate with Zelensky, but insists that Ukraine must accept “the new reality” created by Russia.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan asked his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Thursday for a unilateral ceasefire as the only way to reach a peace agreement and end the war in Ukraine, in a telephone conversation held with the Russian leader.

During the phone call, Erdoğan insisted on the need for a end to fighting, even unilaterally, to be followed by peace negotiations, leading to an end to the conflict and a just and lasting solution. Erdoğan also highlighted the importance of the progress achieved to date thanks to the mediation of Turkey, such as the so-called grain initiative or the exchange of prisoners.

For their part, official Kremlin sources reported that during the call Putin “underlined the destructive role of the West (in the conflict) by supplying Kyiv with weapons, intelligence and military advice.” Although Putin once again affirmed that Russia is ready for dialogue with Ukraine, the Russian leader once again insisted that Kyiv must meet the conditions already established by the Kremlin, and admit “the new territorial realities.”

Said “territorial realities” would mean that Ukraine admits the incorporation into Russia of 4 occupied regions (oblasts) – Donetsk, Lugansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia – despite the fact that the Kremlin no longer controls Kherson since its troops withdrew at the beginning of November. Turkey also does not recognize the annexation of these territories and, like the annexation of Crimea, defends the territorial integrity of Ukraine.

Erdoğan is also scheduled to hold another telephone conversation today with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky to discuss the future of initiatives such as the grain export corridor in the Black Sea. Ankara is one of the few countries that can mediate in the war in Ukraine due to its good relations with Kyiv and Moscow, and it maintains important diplomatic efforts to seat Putin and Zelensky at the negotiating table.