ISTANBUL

Turkey’s presidential spokesman on Sunday reiterated his country’s call for a de-escalation of tension between Russia and Ukraine.

“Turkey defends Ukraine’s territorial integrity and the rights of Crimean Tatars and supports the settlement of the problems between Russia and Ukraine through negotiations,” Ibrahim Kalin said on Twitter.

“All kinds of tensions and conflicts in the Black Sea and the region are to the detriment of everyone,” he added.

Kalin’s remarks came a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with his Ukrainian counterpart Vladimir Zelensky.

Erdogan urged a de-escalation of tensions in Ukraine and said Turkey desires a “peaceful” Black Sea.

“Our main goal is that the Black Sea continues to be a sea of peace, tranquility, and cooperation,” he added.

The two countries vowed to strengthen their strategic partnership, according to a 20-item joint declaration released after the 9th meeting of the High-Level Strategic Council.

Tension is high in the region as the US said Russia is amassing its forces on Ukraine’s eastern border at a level unseen since 2014 when it seized Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and annexed it in violation of international law.

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