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Russia-Ukraine war: Kyiv asks Turkey to be among guarantors of any deal

While selling Ukraine armed drones and supporting its territorial integrity, Turkey has maintained ties with Russia and positioned itself as a mediator in the conflict
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu shake hands during a press conference following talks in Moscow, on 16 March 2022 (AFP)

Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has asked Turkey to be a guarantor of any future deal with Russia, along with the UN Security Council's five permanent members and Germany, Ankara's top diplomat said Thursday.

"Ukraine made an offer on the collective security agreement: P5 (the UN Security Council's five permanent members), Turkey and Germany," Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said during a visit to the Ukrainian city of Lviv.

"I saw that the Russian Federation had no objection and could accept such an offer," he added, referring to his meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Wednesday.

The five permanent UN Security Council members are China, France, Russia, Britain, and the United States.

Cavusoglu said ceasefire hopes in the conflict between Kyiv and Moscow had "increased" following his diplomacy in Russia and Ukraine.

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan offered in a phone call with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Thursday to host him and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for talks.

According to a statement released by Erdogan's office, the Turkish leader emphasised that in order to reach an agreement on certain issues, the Ukrainian and Russian leaders would need to meet.

Erdogan also underlined "the necessity of opening humanitarian corridors" to allow civilians to flee the fighting.

Turkey is a Nato member and has emerged as a key backer of the government in Kyiv. It has supplied Ukraine with armed drones and closed the Bosphorus strait to foreign battleships.

However, its fragile economy is also highly dependent on Russia for gas and tourism revenues and it has not joined western countries in imposing sanctions on Moscow.

On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken thanked Turkey for its role in helping Ukraine during a call with Cavusoglu, the State Department said in a statement.

"Secretary Blinken thanked Turkey for its commitment to Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as Turkey's efforts to assist Ukraine in its time of need," said State Department spokesperson Ned Price.

Last week, Turkey hosted the first high-level meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers in the southern resort city of Antalya.

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