“Russian state media’s broadcast of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s picture and remarks that Turkey wants war in Ukraine shows that Russia does not skimp on disinformation and continues provocations,” a statement by the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said late Monday.
The press statement was referring to a recent broadcast on Russia’s state television Rossiya 1, in which President Erdoğan was among world leaders accused of wanting a war in Ukraine.
“This fabricated news is far from reality. Because Turkey, a Black Sea state, has voiced its willingness that the current situation in Ukraine is resolved through political and diplomatic means, without further escalations,” the Ukrainian foreign ministry also said in the press release as an anxious international community fears an all-out invasion by Russia.
“Besides, President Erdoğan has said that Turkey is ready to take a mediator role between Russia and Ukraine and invited President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russian President Vladimir Putin to Turkey for talks,” the statement also said.
“Ukraine has reiterated that it has welcomed the offer and that it is ready for dialogue to prevent any more loss of lives, which is our utmost priority.”
Russia extended military drills near Ukraine's northern borders Sunday amid increased fears that two days of sustained shelling along the contact line between soldiers and Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine could spark an invasion. Ukraine's president appealed for a cease-fire.
The exercises were originally set to end Sunday and brought a sizable contingent of Russian forces to Belarus. The presence of the Russian troops raised concern that they could be used to sweep down on the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, a city of about 3 million people less than a three-hour drive away.
Western leaders warned that Russia was poised to attack its neighbor, which is surrounded on three sides by about 150,000 Russian soldiers, warplanes and equipment. Russia held nuclear drills Saturday as well as the conventional exercises in Belarus, and has ongoing naval drills off the coast in the Black Sea.
The United States and many European countries have alleged for months that Russia is trying to create pretexts to invade. They have threatened massive, immediate sanctions if it does.