| 17 April 2024, Wednesday |

Turkey rejects Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian territory

Turkey’s Foreign Ministry said on Saturday that it opposes Russia’s annexation of four Ukrainian areas, calling the move a “grave breach” of international law.

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Turkey, a NATO member, has played a diplomatic balancing act. Ankara opposes Western sanctions on Russia and maintains tight ties with both Moscow and its Black Sea neighbors, Kyiv. It also condemned Russia’s incursion and dispatched armed drones to Ukraine.

The Turkish ministry said on Saturday it had not recognized Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, adding that it rejects Russia’s decision to annex the four regions, Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.

“This decision, which constitutes a grave violation of the established principles of international law, cannot be accepted,” the ministry said.

“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,” it added.

On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the areas’ annexation, assuring Moscow would succeed in its “special military operation” despite facing a potentially major new military reversal.

His statement came after Russia staged so-called referendums in seized Ukrainian territory. Western nations and Kiev both claimed that the voting were illegal, forced, and unrepresentative.

The United States, Britain and Canada announced new sanctions in response.

Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskiy said on Friday his country had submitted a fast-track application to join the NATO military alliance and that he would not hold peace talks with Russia while Putin was still president.

  • Reuters