If Turkey and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan can use their influence to encourage Ukraine to implement the 2014 Minsk Protocol, Russia would welcome it, the Kremlin said Wednesday.
Speaking at a daily press briefing in Moscow, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov praised Erdoğan's "significant influence in regional and international affairs."
"If Mr. Erdoğan can somehow use his influence, and this influence is absolutely unambiguous both regionally and in world affairs in many aspects, if he can use his influence to encourage Kyiv to begin fulfilling its obligations under the Minsk package of measures, the Paris agreements and so on, then this will be welcome," the spokesperson said.
This issue could be raised during the telephone conversation between Russian and Turkish presidents on Friday, he added.
The Minsk agreements were signed to stop the ongoing conflict between the pro-Russian separatists and the Kyiv administration.
The agreements included a cease-fire in the region and a prisoner exchange while also allowing the Kyiv administration to make a constitutional amendment that would give Donbass special status.
The pro-Russian separatists, on the other hand, were supposed to withdraw their weapons from the Ukrainian-Russian border.
However, the agreements' implementation has been hampered as the two sides accuse each other of violating the cease-fire.
Turkey has been in contact with both Russia and Ukraine, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said Wednesday, noting that Ankara advised both sides to remain calm and de-escalate the situation.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also said Wednesday that Putin and Erdoğan could discuss Turkey's proposal to mediate conflict in Eastern Ukraine, referring to their planned phone call on Friday.
Turkey could mediate between Ukraine and Russia amid increasing tensions in the region, Erdoğan said recently.
“It is our hope that this region does not become a region dominated by war,” Erdoğan said. “Let this region walk into the future as a region dominated by peace.”
“It is our desire that the attitude on this matter develops in a positive direction. There could be a mediation about this. We will discuss this issue with them, we would like to have a share in the solution of this by developing these talks both with Ukraine and with Mr. Putin,” he added on his return from Turkmenistan.
Russian forces annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in February 2014, with Russian President Vladimir Putin formally dividing the region into two separate federal subjects of the Russian Federation the following month.
Turkey, a NATO member, has criticized Moscow's annexation of Crimea and voiced support for Ukraine's territorial integrity. The United States and United Nations General Assembly view the annexation as illegal as well.
Fighting between Ukrainian government forces and pro-Russian separatists in Donbass has killed more than 13,000 people since 2014, according to the U.N. The region is one of the several sources of friction between Russia and Ukraine.
Ukraine, which wants to join the NATO military alliance, has blamed Moscow for supporting separatists in the conflict in its east since 2014. Ukraine's military intelligence said last week that Russia had amassed more than 92,000 troops around Ukraine's borders and was preparing for an attack by the end of January or the beginning of February.
Russia has said it suspects Ukraine of wanting to recapture separatist-controlled territory by force. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Friday that Kyiv had no such plans and Russia's rhetoric opposing Ukraine's bid to join NATO was worrying.
NATO member Turkey has good ties with both Kyiv and Moscow, though it opposes Russian policies in Syria and Libya. It has forged energy and defense cooperation with Russia while opposing Russia's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimea Peninsula.
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