Russia’s President Vladimir Putin wants to see a swift conclusion to the conflict in Ukraine, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday in an interview with the PBS NewsHour program.
Erdogan said he held “extensive meetings with Putin in Uzbekistan” during last week’s Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit.
“I realized that they are actually trying to finish this as soon as possible. This situation is a big problem,” the Turkish leader said, referring to the conflict in Ukraine.
Erdogan, who is in New York for the UN General Assembly, said he wants Putin and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky to talk directly, in order to find a solution to the conflict, which has been underway since late February.
“We have a persistent desire to bring these leaders together. Let’s bring them together. I want to hear everything from them. We haven’t succeeded yet, but I’m not without hope,” he stated.
The Turkish president claimed to have told both Putin and Zelensky that a negotiated end to the fighting is needed because “nobody will be winning at the end of the day.”
The Kremlin earlier said the Russian and Ukrainian leaders should only meet to sign concrete agreements prepared for them by their negotiators.
Turkey has maintained contacts with both Moscow and Kiev throughout the hostilities. It condemned the use of force by Russia, but at the same time refused to join the international sanctions against Moscow. Ankara was also involved in the UN-brokered deal to allow export of grain from Ukrainian ports, agreed between Russia and Ukraine in July.
Russia recently complained that the part of the agreement which calls for Western countries to remove obstacles to food product shipments remained unfulfilled.