Russian foreign minister says Erdogan, Putin to meet in Astana this week

Possibility of talks between Russia and West may be discussed during the meeting, Lavrov says.

Russian foreign minister says Erdogan, Putin to meet in Astana this week

The Russian and Turkish presidents will meet in the Kazakh capital of Astana this week, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced on Tuesday.

Asked about Türkiye's initiative to organize talks between Russia and the West during an interview with Rossiya 1 TV channel, Lavrov said Ankara may raise the issue at the meeting between Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Astana is hosting the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-building measures in Asia, and a formal summit of the Commonwealth of Independent States on Thursday and Friday respectively.

The minister called "lies" statements of US politicians that Russia refuses to hold peace talks with Ukraine, reminding that it was President Volodymyr Zelenskyy who said "no talks with Russia as long as Vladimir Putin serves as its president."

Lavrov added that Zelenskyy's decision was not independent and if the US orders him to take a seat at the negotiating table, he will do it.

He said Washington not only provides Kyiv with weapons, intelligence, information support, but there is data that American military personnel are also taking part in the fighting.

Lavrov regretted the reaction of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Russia's latest military strikes on Ukraine, lamenting that he and Western countries never condemn attacks on Russia.

"Russia will not tolerate threats to its security from Ukraine," he stressed.

The top Russian diplomat agreed that the UN Security Council has to be reformed, adding that it should be done by including representatives of Asian, African and Latin American countries and not more Western states.

He said Russia suggested holding secret vote of the UN General Assembly on the recent referendums in Ukraine, to avoid blackmail, but the proposal was rejected.

About Russia's recent veto on a resolution condemning the votes, he said: "Western countries prepared a provocative document, slandering Russia, comprising insulting wordings, intentionally drafted that way so that Russia vetoes it and then they can say how bad Russia is."

Putin says the latest strikes are in response to explosions on the Kerch Bridge that links Crimea with Russia, and other "terrorist attacks" carried out by Ukraine's intelligence.

Russia started its “special military operation” in Ukraine in February. In recent weeks, Ukrainian forces launched a counteroffensive, while Moscow called up more reservists and annexed four Ukrainian regions following "sham" referendums.

Hüseyin Demir

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