Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who positioned himself as a broker in the Russia-Ukraine conflict throughout 2022, held separate phone calls Thursday with both President Vladimir Putin and President Volodymyr Zelensky.
He told Zelensky that Turkey was ready to undertake a mediator and facilitator role for lasting peace between Russia and Ukraine and that it could provide diplomatic efforts regarding the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, a Turkish government readout of the call said.
In his call with Putin, Erdogan told the Russian leader that calls for peace and negotiations should be supported by a unilateral declaration of ceasefire and a vision of “a fair solution.”
Putin, however, told Erdogan that Moscow is open to “serious dialogue,” but Kyiv must accept the “new territorial realities,” according to a Kremlin statement.
“In light of Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s readiness for Turkish mediation for a political settlement of the conflict, Vladimir Putin reaffirmed Russia’s openness to serious dialogue, provided that the Kyiv authorities comply with the well-known and repeatedly voiced demands and take into account new territorial realities,” the Kremlin said following a phone call between the two leaders on Thursday.
Putin also emphasized “the destructive role of the West, pumping Ukraine with weapons and providing it with target designation,” the Kremlin said.
The readout also mentioned that the two leaders discussed expanding ties in the energy sector and Putin also asked to lift barriers on Russian exports as part of the Black Sea grain deal.
What Zelensky says: Later on Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he and Erdogan “discussed security cooperation” between their two countries and “nuclear safety issues, in particular the situation at ZNPP (Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station).”
“There should be no invaders there. We also talked about the exchange of prisoners of war with Turkish mediation, the development of the grain agreement. We appreciate Türkiye’s willingness to take part in the implementation of our Peace Formula,” Zelensky said on Telegram, following a phone call between the two leaders.