Turkey rejects Russian annexation of four eastern Ukrainian regions
Turkey on Saturday rejected Russia’s annexation of four Ukrainian provinces, calling it a “grave violation” of international law, state-run TRT network reported.
Calling for negotiations to end the conflict, Ankara said it would not recognise Russia declaration of eastern regions of Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia as part of its territory, the network said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday signed “accession treaties” formalising Russia’s illegal annexation of the four regions in a move that marks largest forcible takeover of territory in Europe since World War II, Reuters reported. The treaties followed Kremlin-orchestrated referendums in the region.
Recalling that Turkey did not recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea in an illegitimate referendum in 2014 and reiterating the country’s strong support to Ukraine’s territorial integrity, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said the latest annexation was “ a grave violation of the established principles of international law.”
“We reiterate our support to the resolution of this war, the severity of which keeps growing, based on a just peace that will be reached through negotiations,” the ministry statement added.
NATO member Turkey, a maritime neighbour to Russia and Ukraine, maintains good ties with both countries and has stepped up as mediator since the beginning of the war in February. Ankara has criticized the Russian invasion of Ukraine and sold drones to Kyiv despite Russian objectives. But Ankara also opposes Western sanctions against Moscow and has stopped short of accusing either country over the conflict.
Turkey remains highly dependent on Russian gas. Russia provides up to half of Turkey’s natural gas, which it also obtains from Iran, Azerbaijan and the United States.
Earlier this week, three Turkish state banks have suspended the use of the Russian Mir payment system over U.S. warnings of sanctions, Bloomberg reported.