Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues his efforts to bring together the leaders of Russia and Ukraine amid rising tension along their borders, Turkiye’s presidential spokesman said Saturday.

“Our president’s offer to bring the leaders of Russia and Ukraine together is actually the most important and concrete proposal to overcome this crisis,” Ibrahim Kalin told reporters at a book fair in Istanbul.

Erdogan also discussed this issue with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky during a recent visit to the capital Kyiv as well as in his phone calls with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and they are expected to have another call soon, said Kalin.

Kalin added that Turkiye’s preparations for Putin’s expected visit to the country are ongoing, saying: “We’re in contact with our Russian counterparts on this.”

According to Kalin, to solve the Ukraine crisis, “dialogue and diplomacy should be prioritized, tensions should be reduced, and mutual steps should be taken to reduce tensions.”

Turkiye will continue to do its duty on this issue, he said, as well as suggesting that this tension should be “resolved through negotiation, dialogue and cooperation”

“A crisis in the Ukraine region affects everyone negatively,” Kalin warned.

Kalin stressed: “Our expectation, effort, and hope is that no conflict, military intervention or occupation will occur.”

Tensions rising

Turkiye has repeatedly shown its willingness to mediate between Ukraine and Russia to resolve the conflict via diplomatic means, with Erdogan saying a trilateral meeting could be held in Istanbul with the participation of leaders of both countries.

Kalin’s remarks came a day after US President Joe Biden accused Moscow of planning “false flag” operations, warning that Russia could very likely invade Ukraine within “several days.”

Tensions have risen dramatically in eastern Ukraine this week, with a growing number of cease-fire violations, multiple shelling incidents, and evacuation of civilians from the pro-Russian separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk.

Western countries have accused Russia of amassing more than 100,000 troops near Ukraine, prompting fears that it could be planning a military offensive against its ex-Soviet neighbor.

Moscow has repeatedly denied any plan to invade Ukraine and instead accused Western countries of undermining Russia’s security through NATO’s expansion toward its borders.

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