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Erdogan says Russia’s attack on Ukraine heavy blow to regional peace

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ANKARA: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Turkey rejects Russian military intervention in Ukraine, calling it “unacceptable”.

“We reject Russia’s military operation,” Erdogan said in a televised speech, calling it a “heavy blow to regional peace, tranquillity, and stability”. 

Erdogan stated that Ankara would do its part to ensure the safety of everyone living in Ukraine, especially its citizens, (Turkic) Tatar brothers, sisters.

Earlier on Thursday, President Erdogan also spoke on phone to his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Erdogan reiterated Ankara’s support for Ukraine’s struggle to protect its territorial integrity.

Russian President Putin announced a military intervention in Ukraine early on Thursday just days after recognising two separatist-held enclaves in eastern Ukraine, drawing widespread international condemnation and announcements of tougher sanctions on Moscow.

Erdogan earlier on Thursday chaired a security summit in the capital Ankara after Moscow launched the attack on its neighbour.

The summit concluded that Russia’s attack was “a violation of international law” and “unacceptable”, according to the presidency. 

“We call on the Russian Federation to stop this unfair and unlawful act as soon as possible.” 

Türkiye “will continue to support Ukraine’s political unity, sovereignty, and territorial integrity”, it said. 

The military operation not only destroys the Minsk accords, but “is a grave violation of international law and poses a serious threat to the security of our region and the world”, the statement added.

The ministry brought attention to the “necessity to respect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of countries,” and that it is against changing of borders by use of force.

Moscow’s military operation followed a month-long buildup of some 100,000 troops around Ukraine, with Russia repeatedly denying any intent to launch an invasion.

There were also reports on Thursday of explosions in several Ukrainian provinces, including the capital Kiev, and several military vehicles reportedly crossed the border from Belarus into Ukraine.

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