Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday and said Ankara was ready to mediate between Moscow and Kyiv to reach a “lasting peace” in Ukraine.
“Erdogan stated that as Turkey, we are ready to facilitate and mediate the establishment of a lasting peace between Russia and Ukraine,” the Turkish president’s office said after the call.
Erdogan told Putin that any offer for peace talks should also include a “unilateral ceasefire” to facilitate negotiations. Later in the day, Putin ordered a unilateral ceasefire for Orthodox Christmas on Saturday, but it’s not clear if it will hold as it has been rejected by Kyiv.
While Erdogan is eager to mediate, chances of peace talks are slim as the warring sides have vastly different demands. According to the Kremlin, Putin said Russia is open to talks, but only if Kyiv takes into account Russia’s annexation of the territory it controls in the Donbas and the oblasts of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.
“Putin reiterated that Russia is open to a serious dialogue, given authorities in Kiev meet demands that have been repeatedly put forward, with due account taken of the new territorial realities,’ the Kremlin said, according to the Russian news agency TASS.
Ukraine has maintained that it will only talk with Russia if Russian forces withdraw from the territory that has been captured since the invasion was launched. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said recently that peace talks could only happen after Russia faces war crimes tribunals.
While Ukraine maintains a hardline position, the US continues to escalate military aid for Kyiv. The only time peace talks appeared to have a chance was much earlier in the war, after Russian and Ukrainian negotiators met in Istanbul last March, but the negotiations were discouraged by the West and ultimately failed.