Ukraine and Russia Closer to Ending War as Understanding Reached in Four Areas

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that Ukraine and Russia have reached an understanding on four of the six main topics of disagreement, including NATO, partial disarmament, collective security and Russian language, bringing the two warring countries a step closer to resolving the conflict.

Ragıp Soylu, Turkey bureau chief of Middle East Eye, reported the news in a tweet on Friday. However, there is still no agreement on Crimea and Donbas, two eastern areas of Ukraine that Russia sees as its own territory. In 2014, Russian troops annexed Crimea before claiming it as Russian land.

Newsweek has contacted the ministries of foreign affairs of both Russia and Ukraine for comment on the peace talks.

Turkey has been in contact with the negotiating teams from the two countries. The NATO member shares a maritime border with Ukraine and Russia in the Black Sea and has a strong relationship with both states. Although it has imposed some sanctions on Moscow since the war started on February 24, it has also offered to mediate the conflict.

Erdogan was speaking at a press conference following the extraordinary summit of NATO leaders on Thursday and Friday.

"We will continue our talks with both Mr. Putin and Mr. Zelensky from now on as well," Erdoğan said, according to a statement from his office. "All our efforts aim to create an atmosphere of peace by bringing together the two leaders."

"As is known, there is almost a consensus regarding such issues as NATO, disarmament, collective security and using Russian as official language in the technical infrastructure works during the ongoing process in Belarus," Erdogan added. "However, there is the issue of Crimea and Donbas, which is impossible for Ukraine to consent to."

The Turkish leader called Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky's move on Monday to declare that Ukrainian compromises with Russia will be decided on by a referendum was "wise leadership."

"Turkey's strong support for Ukraine's territorial integrity and sovereignty since 2014 is known by everyone. We have stated at every opportunity that we never have and never will recognize Crimea's annexation, and we continue to do so," Erdogan said.

"The destruction and humanitarian tragedy caused by the war are evident. The war-torn cities, hospitals, schools and houses that have nearly turned into wrecks, and weeping refugees, who packed all their assets in one suitcase, have all reminded us once again of the bitter face of wars."

Erdogan is due to tell Russian President Vladimir Putin: "Make an honorable exit in Ukraine and become an architect of peace," Soylu reported.

The Turkish president met with U.S. counterpart Joe Biden and other NATO leaders in Brussels on Thursday to discuss further sanctions on Russia and bolstering the alliance's eastern flank. Biden will travel to a Polish town near the border of Ukraine later on Friday to show solidarity and show Western resolve against the Russian invasion.

Putin and Zelenskyy
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that Ukraine and Russia reached an understanding on four of the six topics of disagreement, including NATO, partial disarmament, collective security and Russian language Getty