Turkey has said Russia and Ukraine made progress on their negotiations to halt the war and the two sides were “close to an agreement”.
On February 24, Russian military invaded Ukraine, with President Vladimir Putin describing the invasion as a “special operation” aimed at demilitarising the country and ridding it of what he perceives as dangerous nationalists. According to Ukraine and the West, Putin chose to wage an aggressive war.
“Of course, it is not an easy thing to come to terms with while the war is going on, while civilians are killed, but we would like to say that momentum is still gained,” foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in live comments from the southern Turkish province of Antalya on Sunday.
“We see that the parties are close to an agreement.”
Turkey is in communication with the two countries’ negotiating teams, according to Cavusoglu, but he refuses to reveal the substance of the talks since “we play an honest mediator and facilitator role.”
In an interview with the Turkish daily Hurriyet, presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said the sides were negotiating six points: Ukraine’s neutrality, disarmament, and security guarantees, so-called “de-Nazification,” removal of barriers to the use of the Russian language in Ukraine, the status of the Donbas breakaway republics, and the status of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014.
Ukraine and the West have dismissed Russian references to “neo-Nazis” in Ukraine’s democratically-elected leadership as baseless propaganda.
Ankara has not sanctioned Russia or closed its airspace but has closed the Turkish Straits connecting the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, which affects Russian warships’ access except for those returning to port.