On April 10th, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Ankara and spoke to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Erdogan provided some empty rhetoric, words of support and that if war between Russia and Ukraine would start, Kiev would be left largely alone.
Erdogan said he supports the Crimean Platform, Kiev’s initiative to involve the international community in solving the peninsula problem.
“We stand for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. We reiterated our principles decision not to recognize Crimea’s annexation. We said we support Ukraine’s initiative of the Crimean Platform geared to consolidate the international community around Crimea. We hope this initiative will yield positive results for all Crimean peoples, including Crimean Tatars, and for Ukraine,” he said.
According to Erdogan, during the meeting with Zelensky, it was decided to start negotiations on strengthening cooperation in the defense industry.
“We have started new consultations in the 2+2 format (talks of the foreign ministers and the Defense Ministry of the two countries),” Erdogan said. “Our cooperation in the defence industry is by no means an initiative against third countries.”
As a result of the talks, Erdogan and Zelesnky issued a joint declaration emphasizing Ukraine’s plans to join NATO.
“It was agreed to express support for the prospect of Ukraine’s membership in NATO, in particular its intention to be accepted in the NATO Membership Action Plan in the near future,” the document reads.
After the talks, Zelensky stressed Kiev and Ankara have similar positions on the security of the Black Sea region, both with regard to the threats and the response to these threats.
According to Zelensky, Turkey’s support for restoring sovereignty and territorial integrity is very important for Ukraine, and he was “happy to hear from President Erdogan that this support will continue.”
Erdogan, though, said he supported the Normandy Four format, as well as that the Minsk agreements needed to be actually implemented by Kiev.
“We hope that the escalation on the ground that we have observed in the most recent period will end soon and that the ceasefire continues,” Erdoğan continued. “We hope that the current conflict will reach a solution based on the Minsk Agreement through dialogue.”
Just one day before his meeting with Zelensky, Erdoğan had a phone call with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. In a readout of the call released by the Kremlin, Putin “emphasised that the 2015 Minsk Package of Measures has no alternative as a foundation for a settlement”. The Russian president placed the blame on Ukraine for failing to adhere to the agreement and accused it of “dangerous provocations”.
On April 12th, press secretary of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Yulia Mendel said that Kiev is not planning an offensive in Eastern Ukraine.
“The fact is that Ukraine simply cannot attack its territory and cannot fight its people,” she said.
According to Mendel, there is a “firm conviction” in Kiev that only negotiations will lead to peace.
“That is why we are seeking the” Normandy format “negotiations and will move towards peace by all possible diplomatic means,” the press secretary added.
Earlier, Zelensky, after visiting the contact line, announced the need for a new ceasefire in Donbass. At the same time, he linked stability in the region with Ukraine’s accession to NATO.
As the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Ruslan Khomchak noted, the use of force to “liberate” Donbass is unacceptable for Kiev, as it is fraught with casualties among the civilian population and military personnel.
The head of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, Denis Pushilin, said earlier that Ukraine was ready for full-scale hostilities. He noted that the situation now was the worst period on the contact line in Donbass in recent years.
On the part of Donetsk oblast controlled by Kiev, military training of Ukrainian snipers began in a training camp near Mariupol.
According to the press service of the People’s Police Department of the DPR, referring to intelligence data, Ukrainian military personnel are being trained under the direct supervision of NATO instructors.
“Our intelligence continues to receive information about the training of Ukrainian military personnel under the guidance of NATO instructors. In a training camp near Mariupol, training sessions with snipers are taking place,” the DAN agency quotes the text of the message.
According to the data of the Donetsk military, about 15 people of the personnel of the Ukrainian units included in the Operational-Tactical Group (OTG) “Vostok” were involved in the training.
The DPR side believes that the activation of snipers in the enemy camp is associated with the recent delivery to Ukraine of a new batch of American-made large-caliber Barrett rifles.
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