Moscow warns Ankara over ties with Ukraine

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Russia’s foreign minister on Monday warned Turkey against what he said were attempts to fuel “militaristic sentiment” in Ukraine after Ankara moved to boost cooperation with Kiev.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last month pledged support to Kiev amid a buildup of Russian forces along its border with Ukraine.

Erdogan said at the time that Turkey, a NATO member, and Ukraine had launched a platform with their foreign and defense ministers to discuss defense industry cooperation, but added that this was “not in any way a move against third countries.”

“We strongly recommend that our Turkish colleagues carefully analyze the situation and stop fueling Kiev’s militaristic sentiment,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with Argumenty i Fakty newspaper.

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He said that encouraging “aggressive” Ukrainian actions toward Russian-annexed Crimea amounted to an encroachment on Russia’s territorial integrity.

“We hope Ankara will adjust its line based on our legitimate concerns.”

Turkey, along with the rest of NATO, criticized Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and voiced support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity as Kiev’s forces battle pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Turkey, which faces Ukraine and Russia across the Black Sea to the north, also sold drones to Kiev in 2019.

But Ankara has also forged close cooperation with Moscow over conflicts in Syria, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh as well as in the areas of defense and energy.

Moscow’s ties with the West have languished at post-Cold War lows since the annexation of Crimea, which resulted in a flurry of sanctions being imposed against Russia.

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