KAZAKHSTAN’S President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan play table tennis in Astana, on Wednesday.—Reuters

Moscow belie­ves Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will “officially” offer at an upcoming meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin in Kazakhstan to mediate negotiations with Ukraine, a Kremlin aide said on Wednesday.

“The Turks are offering their mediation. If any talks take place, then most likely they will be on their territory: in Istanbul or Ankara,” Kremlin foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov told reporters in Moscow.

“Erdogan will probably propose something officially” during talks with Putin in the Kazakh capital Astana on Thursday, the foreign policy adviser added.

Nato member Turkiye, which has stayed neutral throughout the conflict in Ukraine, has good relations with its two Black Sea neighbours — Russia and Ukraine — and has refrained from joining Western sanctions on Moscow.

“Turkiye on principle does not join the illegal sanctions of the West. And this position of Turkiye gives an additional impetus for the expansion of trade and economic cooperation,” the official said.

Turkiye has twice hosted talks between Moscow and Kyiv, including a March in-person meeting of Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba, the first high-level talks to take place after Moscow sent troops into Ukraine.

However, peace negotiations have since stalled and Ukraine’s President Volod­ymyr Zelensky said he would not hold any talks with Putin after the Kremlin recently annexed four territories.


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