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Turkey backs Ukraine’s NATO bid, says navy trade cooperation with Kiev is ‘not aimed in opposition to third nations’

Ankara has backed Kiev’s bid to affix NATO and vowed to increase protection trade cooperation in addition to “coordinate steps” with Ukraine to reclaim Crimea, all whereas saying it doesn’t search to spite third nations.

“Our essential aim is that the Black Sea continues to be a sea of peace, tranquility and cooperation,” Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan mentioned at a joint press convention following three-hour-long talks with Ukrainian chief Volodymir Zelensky in Istanbul on Saturday.

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The Turkish president mentioned Ankara doesn’t need “escalation” within the area “in any manner” and known as for a peaceable decision of a present flare-up between Kiev’s navy and separatists within the Donetsk and Lugansk areas of Ukraine, collectively often known as Donbass.

On the similar time, a joint declaration signed by the 2 leaders states that Kiev and Ankara agreed to spice up up defence cooperation “by competing present and creating new joint tasks.” 

Noting the significance of Turkish-Ukranian cooperation within the sphere, Erdogan, nevertheless, claimed that this was “not in any manner a transfer in opposition to third nations”.

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Turkey has additionally expressed help for the “prospect of Ukraine’s NATO membership,” and the 2 nations vowed to take care of safety cooperation within the Black Sea area “by means of bilateral and multilateral mechanisms, together with NATO.”

Zelensky, for his half, said that he believes Kiev and Ankara share the identical “visions” concerning the state of affairs within the space, “each relating to the threats themselves and the methods of responding to those threats.”

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On the assembly, Ankara has reaffirmed its long-standing coverage of not recognizing the reunification of Crimea with Russia in 2014, agreeing to ”coordinate steps aimed toward restoring the territorial integrity of Ukraine”, together with on the so-called “deoccupation” of the peninsula. Crimea rejoined Russia following a referendum, which the West refuses to recognise.

Specifically, Turkey pledged to help the so-called Crimean Platform – a form of a global dialogue discussion board Kiev seeks to launch to debate the best way of returning the territory. 

The talks between the 2 presidents got here amid mounting tensions in Donbass  between Kiev’s military and separatist forces, who’re backed by Moscow. Shelling and gun battles resumed on the contact line, leading to casualties reviews from either side.

The Kremlin has described the state of affairs as “slightly horrifying,” whereas Kiev’s allies in Washington accused Moscow of amassing troops on the border with Ukraine and urged it to chorus from “escalatory” actions. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov mentioned that Russian troop actions are a part of routine relocations, and famous that Russia desires to maintain a watchful eye on such “a stressed place like Ukraine.”

In case full-scale hostilities escape, all nations, together with Russia, must take measures to avert the potential bloodshed, Peskov mentioned on Friday, including that resumption of a civil warfare in Ukraine will pose “a menace to Russia’s safety.”

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