ADANA, Turkiye

The ongoing tension between Russia and Ukraine can be resolved peacefully with Turkiye’s mediation, the Ukrainian ambassador to Ankara said on Monday.

Speaking to reporters after opening the Turkiye-Ukraine memorial forest in the southern Turkish province of Adana, Vasyl Bodnar said Russia is amassing soldiers along the Ukrainian borders.

“We expect this situation to be resolved peacefully. But of course, we are ready to defend ourselves, if necessary,” he said.

The Ukrainian envoy hoped Russia will end this crisis before it turns into a war, adding: “We can resolve this situation peacefully with Turkiye’s mediation.”

About a recent visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Ukraine, Bodnar said the visit displayed Turkiye’s high level of support.

Following his visit to Kyiv earlier this month, Erdogan said that he offered to host a summit of Russian and Ukrainian leaders in Turkiye to de-escalate tensions and find a diplomatic solution to the current crisis.

The several deals signed between the two countries also showed “how serious and strong strategic partners we are,” Bodnar said. “That’s why we see the support and solidarity of both the government and the people of Turkiye.”

“We should not listen to the rumors that there is a crisis between Russia and the West, because this is actually a crisis between Russia and Ukraine,” the envoy added.

Moscow and Kyiv have been locked in a conflict since hostilities in the eastern Donbas region broke out in 2014 after Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula.

Russia has amassed more than 100,000 troops near Ukraine’s borders, prompting fears it could be planning another military offensive against the former Soviet republic.

The US and its allies have warned of an imminent attack, and threatened Russia with “severe consequences.”

Moscow, however, has denied it is preparing to invade Ukraine and said its troops are there for exercises.

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