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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Ukraine conflict won’t end this year – Türkiye

Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan has expressed concern over a potential expansion of the hostilities into the region

The Ukraine conflict is unlikely to be resolved anytime soon and has the potential to escalate even further, according to Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan.

In an interview with CNN Turk on Monday, the foreign minister claimed that the hostilities between Moscow and Kiev have “turned into a war of attrition,” which he said is a grave matter of concern for Türkiye.

Read more: Biden considers sending US Army’s money to Ukraine – Bloomberg

“Strategically, we are concerned about the expansion of the [conflict] into the region,” Fidan stated, adding that this process “begins with language and then turns into action.” Europe, he warned, “should be more worried about the situation in Ukraine than we are.”

Commenting on the prospects for a peace deal, the minister said, “there is no basis to expect development on this issue in 2024. We don’t see this in the near future.”

He noted, however, that Türkiye has several initiatives to end the conflict and is one of the few countries calling for peace in NATO, the EU, and other international platforms. According to Fidan, Ankara is well positioned to pursue this policy because it has good relations with both belligerents.

Read more: ICC Issues Arrest Warrants for Russian Commanders Over War Crimes in Ukraine

Since the start of the Ukraine conflict in February 2022, Türkiye has repeatedly urged Moscow and Kiev to cease the hostilities, and provided a venue for peace talks that year. While the negotiations – which revolved around the issue of Ukrainian neutrality – initially made some headway, Kiev later walked away. Moscow claimed that the talks were derailed by then-UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who advised Ukraine to keep fighting – a claim that Johnson denies.

On Friday, Fidan also insisted that it is “time to separate the issue of [Ukrainian] sovereignty from the ceasefire” in order to stop the conflict, stressing that this does not mean that Kiev would recognize Russia’s territorial gains.

However, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky signed a decree barring talks with the current leadership in Moscow in the autumn of 2022, after four former Ukrainian regions voted overwhelmingly in referendums to join Russia. President Vladimir Putin has said that Moscow is open to negotiations with Ukraine as long as Kiev and its Western backers are serious about long-term peace with Moscow, and not just because they “have run out of ammunition.”