Turkey hopes that a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Vladimir Zelensky will take place in the next few days, Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Wednesday following consultations on the West’s military assistance to Kiev held at Ramstein Air Base in Germany.
“We hope that despite some difficulties, the two leaders will be able to meet in the coming days thanks to the proposals of our president [Recep Tayyip Erdogan],” the Turkish defense ministry quoted him as saying.
According to Akar, “Turkey continues to contribute, to do everything necessary, including playing a mediating role, so that the humanitarian situation in Ukraine does not deteriorate and a cease-fire is reached as soon as possible.”
Ankara regularly expresses its desire to host a meeting between Putin and Zelensky, but Moscow has repeatedly responded to such proposals by explaining that Putin has never refused in principle to meet with Zelensky, but that a text of the document on Ukraine needs to be prepared.
Tensions escalated along the line of contact in Donbass on February 17. The Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics reported the heaviest shelling by the Ukrainian Armed Forces in months. On February 24, in response to a request by the heads of the Donbass republics, Putin made a decision to carry out a special military operation in Ukraine. The goal is to demilitarize and denazify Ukraine. The DPR and LPR started an operation to liberate their territories, which are under Kiev’s control.