ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s office said early on Tuesday that he held a phone call with his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko to discuss developments in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The two premiers discussed ceasefire talks between Russia and Ukraine, according to Erdogan’s office. The talks failed to reach a breakthrough on Monday, and negotiators have not said when a new round would take place. Erdogan’s office said he told Lukashenko that Turkey will continue to make efforts to stop the war and restore peace. Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation”.
Turkey’s leader said on Monday that his country could not abandon its ties with Russia or Ukraine, adding Ankara would implement a pact on passage via straits in Turkish waters leading to the Black Sea to prevent an escalation of the war. NATO ally Turkey on Sunday called Russia’s invasion a “war”, allowing it to invoke articles under a 1936 international accord that will limit the passage of some Russian vessels from Turkish straits.
Turkey has previously offered to mediate in the crisis between Russia and Ukraine. Turkey shares maritime borders with both countries and has good relations with them. Lukashenko has fallen in line with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s military assault on Ukraine after earlier playing an intermediary role between the two neighbours.
He said last week that troops from his ex-Soviet country could take part in Russia’s military operation against Ukraine if needed.