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Turkey shame as Erdogan refuses to follow UK's lead on confronting Putin's Russia

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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told a diplomatic forum in Antalya on Sunday: “We believe that the sanctions will not resolve the problem.” It comes as Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan is set to discuss the war with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz at talks in Ankara on Monday.

NATO member Turkey shares a maritime border with Ukraine and Russia in the Black Sea. It has good ties with both.

Ankara has said the invasion is unacceptable and voiced support for Ukraine. However, it has also opposed sanctions on Moscow while offering to mediate.

Ukraine said on Sunday it was working with Turkey and Israel as mediators to set a place and framework for talks with Russia.

Turkey hosted the foreign ministers of the warring nations for the first high-level talks last week.

While forging close ties with Russia in defence, energy and trade, and relying on Russian tourists, Turkey has also sold drones to Ukraine, angering Moscow.

It also opposes Russian policies in Syria and Libya as well as its annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Turkey had come under fire from Western allies in recent years for purchasing Russian S-400 defence systems. The move prompted US sanctions in December 2020.

Ankara maintained it was forced to buy the Russian weapons because allies were unwilling to sell it NATO systems at satisfactory conditions.

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Asked whether Moscow’s invasion shed new light on Turkey’s S-400s, the alliance’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said it showed the importance of NATO allies not being dependent on Russian military equipment.

He said: “It is not a good situation to be in that a Nato ally, Turkey, is not able to get access to systems from other Nato allies, but I think that at the same time … the brutal invasion by Russia of Ukraine demonstrates that no Nato ally should be dependent on military systems from Russia.”

The Russian state news agency, TASS, reported on Sunday that Mr Stoltenberg also said on the sidelines of a diplomatic meeting that the alliance expected all of its members to impose restrictions on Moscow.

Britain unveiled aviation sanctions last week which grant the power to detain any Russian aircraft and banning exports of aviation or space-related goods to Russia.

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The measures make it a criminal offence for any to fly or land in the United Kingdom.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said on Monday sanctions pressure should be increased on Russia. He called for a global boycott of international companies that have kept their operations open in Russia.

Mr Kuleba also called for international ports to bar passage to Russian ships and cargo.

Swiss Re said on Monday it was neither taking on new business with Russian and Belarusian clients nor renewing existing business with Russian clients.

The global reinsurer joins banks such as Deutsche, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase which have exited Russia following its February 24 invasion of Ukraine and subsequent Western government sanctions.

Kyiv said on Monday it had begun hard talks with Moscow on a ceasefire, immediate withdrawal of troops and security guarantees.

Both sides reported rare progress in negotiations at the weekend, despite Russian bombardments.

The Kremlin calls its actions in Ukraine a “special operation”.



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