Russia Ukraine conflict

Ukraine must ‘stop fighting,’ Russia’s Putin tells Erdogan in phone call

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Russian President Vladimir Putin told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a phone call on Sunday that Russia would only halt its military operation if Ukraine stopped fighting and Moscow’s demands were met, the Kremlin said in a statement.

Putin said the operation was going according to plan and to schedule, and that he hoped Ukrainian negotiators would take a more constructive approach at talks and take into account the reality on the ground, the Kremlin said in statement.

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Turkish President Erdogan appealed for an urgent general ceasefire in Ukraine when he spoke on Sunday to Russian leader Vladimir Putin by telephone, Erdogan’s office said.

The two heads of state spoke ahead of a diplomatic forum in Turkey on March 11-13 that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart are due to attend.

Turkey hopes to organize a meeting between the two.

“An urgent general ceasefire would make it easier to find a political solution and respond to humanitarian concerns,” Erdogan said.

He urged Putin to allow the creation of “urgent” humanitarian corridors in Ukraine, saying he and the Russian leader could “open the way of peace together.”

He told Putin that Ankara was “prepared to contribute in allpossible ways towards a peaceful resolution (of the crisis).”

Official Turkish media said the conversation lasted an hour.

Turkey is conducting a delicate balancing act.

On the one hand, it is a member of NATO and an ally of Ukraine.

On the other, it needs to maintain good relations with Russia, on which it depends heavily for imports.

Erdogan has offered on several occasions to host talks between Kyiv and Moscow.

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