Erdogan to urge Putin, Zelensky to take steps on Crimea, Donbas

Russian Foreign Minister: Some progress had been made at peace talks with Ukraine and Moscow is preparing its response to Ukrainian proposals.

 Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan arrives for a news conference with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran and Vladimir Putin of Russia following their meeting in Tehran, Iran September 7, 2018 (photo credit: Kirill Kudryavtsev/Pool via REUTERS)
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan arrives for a news conference with President Hassan Rouhani of Iran and Vladimir Putin of Russia following their meeting in Tehran, Iran September 7, 2018
(photo credit: Kirill Kudryavtsev/Pool via REUTERS)

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday he will tell his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in a phone call later that he and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky need to take a step to address issues over Ukraine's Donbas region and Crimea.

Speaking to reporters in Istanbul, Erdogan said he will hold the phone call with Putin at 1300 GMT and renew an offer to host the Russian and Ukrainian leaders for peace talks, which he said Zelensky was warm towards after their call on Thursday.

Earlier, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said his country would be grateful to Turkey if it could help organize a meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian leaders.

Russia and India

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday that some progress had been made at peace talks with Ukraine and that Moscow was preparing its response to Ukrainian proposals, adding that Russia would be open to India mediating between the two countries. 

 Russian president Vladimir Putin and foreign minister Sergei Lavrov attend the Libya summit in Berlin, Germany, January 19, 2020 (credit: HANNIBAL HANSCHKE/REUTERS) Russian president Vladimir Putin and foreign minister Sergei Lavrov attend the Libya summit in Berlin, Germany, January 19, 2020 (credit: HANNIBAL HANSCHKE/REUTERS)

Speaking at a briefing after talks with his Indian counterparts, Lavrov said that peace talks with Ukraine needed to continue but that Kyiv had shown "much more understanding" of the situation in Crimea and Donbas and the necessity of its neutral status.

The Arab League heads to Moscow

The Arab League is set to send a delegation of foreign ministers from six Arab states to Moscow in order to promote a resolution to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine War, Husam Zaki, assistant to the Arab League secretary-general, told Russia's TASS news agency Friday.

This delegation, headed by Arab League Secretary-General Ahmed Abu al-Gheit, will include foreign ministers from Egypt, Algeria, the UAE, Jordan, Sudan and Iraq.

Zaki told TASS that negotiations will start in Moscow on April 4 and that contact with Ukraine is expected later on.

The Arab League is just one of many entities seeking to bring about a peace settlement to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, which first began on February 24. 

Several negotiations have been held in Istanbul and Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has also worked to mediate between Moscow and Kyiv. There has been consistent interest in using Jerusalem as a possible place for more talks.

Both Turkey and Israel have favorable ties with Ukraine and Russia.

This is a developing story.