Turkey’s Erdogan asks Russia’s Putin to declare ‘unilateral’ Ukraine ceasefire

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday pressed Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to declare a “unilateral” ceasefire in Ukraine.

“President Erdogan said that calls for peace and negotiations should be supported by a unilateral ceasefire and a vision for a fair solution,” his office quoted Erdogan as telling Putin in a telephone call.

Erdogan was due to follow the talks with a separate conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy later on Thursday.

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The Turkish leader has used his good relations with both Moscow and Kyiv to try and mediate an end to the war.

Turkey hosted two early rounds of peace talks and helped strike a UN-backed agreement restoring Ukrainian grain deliveries across the Black Sea.

Erdogan has also repeatedly tried to bring Putin and Zelenskyy to Turkey for a peace summit.

Erdogan’s call for a ceasefire followed a proposal earlier Thursday by Russia’s spiritual leader Patriarch Kirill for an Orthodox Christmas truce this week.

Erdogan has been able to maintain good relations with Putin by refusing to join Western sanction on Russia and ramping up bilateral trade during the war.

The two leaders now have tentative plans to set up a natural gas hub in Turkey that can offer Russia an alternate way of supplying Europe with fuel.

Erdogan’s office said that Turkey “has strengthened and will continue to strengthen the infrastructure” of the proposed hub.

The two leaders hope to “implement (the project) as soon as possible,” Erdogan’s office said.

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