Washington is not going to touch upon why Türkiye handed over Azov leaders to Ukraine, senior official mentioned
President Joe Biden’s administration has distanced itself from Türkiye’s determination to launch 5 navy commanders of the infamous Ukrainian neo-Nazi Azov unit. Moscow has referred to as Ankara’s transfer an settlement breach.
US Nationwide Safety Advisor Jake Sullivan declined to talk about the motivation of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in handing over the Azov leaders to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky in the course of the latter’s go to to Türkiye on Saturday.
“We weren’t part of this and aren’t ready, actually, to touch upon what Erdogan was making an attempt to perform by it,” the US official advised the media on board Air Pressure One on Sunday.
The Ukrainians in query had been captured by Russia final yr within the metropolis of Mariupol and handed over to Türkiye as a part of a prisoner swap with Ukraine. The phrases of the deal had been that Ankara would maintain them in custody till the armed battle in Ukraine is over.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov assessed that Ankara broke its commitments underneath strain to point out solidarity with NATO forward of this week’s summit of leaders in Vilnius, Lithuania.
Some members of the press accompanying President Biden to the UK advised that Erdogan’s conduct confirmed a perceived weak point of Russian President Vladimir Putin following final months’ aborted rise up by Evgeny Prigozhin, the pinnacle of the Wagner Group personal navy firm.
Sullivan said that Türkiye has had an ambivalent place relating to the Ukrainian battle from the beginning. Ankara, for instance, had provided “some subtle weaponry” to Kiev, he mentioned.
“How a lot that is associated to Prigozhin versus how a lot that is simply associated to [Erdogan’s] strategy to the Ukraine battle writ massive, it’s laborious for me to say,” the senior official added.
Moscow considers Azov to be a terrorist group and has accused its members of committing struggle crimes in the course of the battle for Mariupol.
Western nations previously thought-about the Ukrainian unit as extremist. A 2021 TIME journal investigation detailed how Azov recruiters “made no secret of [their] neo-Nazi politics” after they reached out to “white supremacists from world wide” to seek out new members or encourage allies.
For the reason that hostilities in Ukraine broke out in February 2022, Azov was rebranded in Western media as heroic defenders of their nation, who’ve overcome their origins.
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