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Turkish President asks Putin to resolve Ukraine crisis via talks

Ankara: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has asked his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to engage in negotiations to resolve the Ukrainian crisis, according to a statement by the Turkish presidency.

“Steps to reduce tensions are needed to pave the way for more positive developments, and that Russia is expected to take steps to facilitate this process, especially on the issue of the accession of some regions in Ukraine to Russia,” Erdogan told Putin on Thursday in a phone call.

Asking Putin to “give the negotiations another chance”, Erdogan said Turkey was ready to play a facilitating role in this process, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Turkish president also expressed his satisfaction with the successful conclusion of the Russia-Ukraine prisoner exchange, and the functioning of the agreement signed in Istanbul which resumed the export of Ukrainian grains to world markets.

Erdogan said the extension of the grain export mechanism, which will expire in November, is a common interest.

He also promised Ankara’s continued work on the uninterrupted export of Russian fertilizers and grain products.

Turkey, which has good relations with both Ukraine and Russia, has been acting as a mediator between the two countries since the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine conflict in February.

On July 22, Ukraine and Russia separately signed a deal with Turkey and the United Nations in Istanbul to resume food and fertilizer shipments from Ukrainian ports to international markets via the Black Sea.

Russia and Ukraine exchanged nearly 200 prisoners of war as a result of Turkey’s mediation, Erdogan announced last week.