Erdogan calls for ‘urgent general ceasefire’ in Putin’s appeal

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for an urgent general ceasefire in Ukraine during his phone call Sunday with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, Erdogan’s office said.

The two heads of state spoke ahead of a diplomatic forum in Turkey from March 11 to 13 which Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Ukrainian counterpart are to attend.

Turkey hopes to arrange a meeting between the two.

“An urgent general ceasefire would facilitate the search for a political solution and address humanitarian concerns,” Erdogan said.

He urged Putin to authorize the creation of “urgent” humanitarian corridors in Ukraine, saying he and the Russian leader could “together pave the way to peace”.

He told Putin that Ankara was “ready to contribute in any way possible to a peaceful resolution (of the crisis)”.

Turkish state media said the conversation lasted an hour.

Turkey is carrying out a delicate balancing act.

On the one hand, it is a member of NATO and an ally of Ukraine. On the other hand, it must maintain good relations with Russia, on which it depends heavily for its imports.

Erdogan has repeatedly offered to host talks between Kyiv and Moscow.

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