Moscow says Turkey will "formally" offer to host peace talks in Astana
A Kremlin adviser said on Wednesday that Moscow hopes Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would "formally" offer to facilitate talks with Ukraine at a meeting on Thurdsay with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Kazakhstan, Deutsche Welle Turkish reported.
"The Turks are offering their mediation. If any talks take place, then most likely they will be on their territory: in Istanbul or Ankara," Kremlin foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov told reporters in Moscow.
Erdogan "will probably propose something officially," he continued, at their Thursday discussions in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, on the sidelines of the 6th summit of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA)
Turkey, a NATO member that has maintained its neutral stance throughout the Ukrainian war, enjoys cordial ties with both of its Black Sea neighbours, Russia and Ukraine, and has abstained from supporting Western sanctions on Moscow.
"Turkey on principle does not join the illegal sanctions of the West. And this position of Turkey gives an additional impetus for the expansion of trade and economic cooperation," Ushakov said.
Turkey has previously served as a venue for negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv.
In March, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov and his Ukrainian colleague Dmytro Kuleba met in person for the first high-level discussions in Turkey’s southern city of Antalya but the peace talks have subsequently stopped, and when the Kremlin said that it had seized four Ukrainian provinces, President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine declared he would furthermore stop discussions with Putin.
When asked about Zelensky's promise, Ushakov told reporters: "I would like to tell him: never say never."