Erdogan says Turkey ready to mediate between Ukraine and Russia -NTV

Ukrainian officials say Russian forces have massed on the border of Ukraine.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attends a meeting of his ruling AK Party via video link in Ankara, Turkey March 4, 2021. (photo credit: PRESIDENTIAL PRESS OFFICE/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attends a meeting of his ruling AK Party via video link in Ankara, Turkey March 4, 2021.
(photo credit: PRESIDENTIAL PRESS OFFICE/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

Turkey is ready to act as a mediator between Ukraine and Russia, President Tayyip Erdogan was cited as saying by broadcaster NTV on Monday, despite having angered Moscow by selling armed drones to Kyiv earlier this year amid tensions in eastern Ukraine.

US, NATO and Ukrainian officials say Russian forces have massed on the border of Ukraine, which is also battling Moscow-backed separatists who control part of its territory in the east.

Ukraine's military intelligence has said Moscow was preparing for an attack in early 2022. Russia has dismissed the comments as "malicious" US propaganda.

NATO member Turkey has good ties with both Kyiv and Moscow, but opposes Russian policies in Syria and Libya. It has forged close energy and defense cooperation with Russia, but has also sold Turkish-made drones to Kyiv, angering Moscow.

Speaking to reporters on a flight from Turkmenistan, Erdogan was cited as saying by NTV and other media Turkey wanted the Black Sea region to be in peace, adding he was discussing the issue with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin frequently.

Tanks of the Ukrainian Armed Forces drive during military drills at a training ground near the border with Russian-annexed Crimea in Kherson region, Ukraine, in this handout picture released by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine press service November 17, 2021. (credit: PRESS SERVICE OF GENERAL STAFF OF THE ARMED FORCES OF UKRAINE/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)Tanks of the Ukrainian Armed Forces drive during military drills at a training ground near the border with Russian-annexed Crimea in Kherson region, Ukraine, in this handout picture released by the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine press service November 17, 2021. (credit: PRESS SERVICE OF GENERAL STAFF OF THE ARMED FORCES OF UKRAINE/HANDOUT VIA REUTERS)

"Whether it is as a mediator or speaking to them about the issue, by holding these talks with Ukraine and Mr Putin, God willing, we want to have a part in the solution of this," he was cited as saying.

Asked about Erdogan's offer, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov declined to comment.

Last month, Moscow said the Turkish drones risked having a destabilizing impact in east Ukraine, after Kyiv deployed one to hit a position controlled by Russian-backed separatists. Turkey has said it cannot be blamed for Ukraine's use of the drones.

Russia-backed separatists have been fighting government troops in Ukraine's Donbass region since 2014, soon after Russia seized the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine.

Turkey has also criticized Moscow's annexation of Crimea and voiced support for Ukraine's territorial integrity.