Russia says it closely follows talks between Erdogan, Zelenskyy

Russia says it closely follows talks between Erdogan, Zelenskyy

Kremlin spokesman praises Turkish president's efforts directed at settlement of Ukrainian conflict

By Elena Teslova

MOSCOW (AA) - Russia will closely follow Friday's talks between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Kremlin said.

"Of course, we will follow the results of the negotiations very closely. We maintain our constructive partnership relations with Ankara, value these relations and feel reciprocity from the Turkish side. Therefore, of course, we will be interested to know what will be discussed between Mr. Erdogan and Mr. Zelenskyy. It is important," spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters at a press briefing in Moscow on Friday.

The spokesman also praised efforts of the Turkish president aimed at ending the war in Ukraine, which broke out last year in February.

"Erdogan has repeatedly made great efforts to resolve various problems in the context of the Ukrainian conflict, played a mediating role, and this role was highly appreciated by the president of Russia," he said.

About a possible meeting between Russian and Turkish leaders, he said it may take place in the foreseeable future, but currently is not on the schedule.

As for the contacts between Russia and Ukraine, Peskov said Moscow has "never closed the door before the negotiation process" but at the moment sees no grounds for resumption of peace talks.

"It is important for us to achieve our goals, they can be achieved in different ways. But now, unfortunately, political and diplomatic means are unavailable, in the first place because of the denial of such a possibility by the Kyiv regime, as well as the pronounced unwillingness to such a process on the part of Washington in the first place," he said.

According to Peskov, the US "exerts direct influence and exercises direct leadership" on Ukrainian authorities.

Talks between Erdogan and Zelenskyy will be held in Istanbul, with Ukraine peace process and extension of the Black Sea grain deal, which expires later this month, expected to be high on the agenda.

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