‘Elements in West’ want World War III – NATO member state

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan commended Russia for proposing a peaceful resolution to the Ukraine conflict

Certain Western powers appear hell-bent on turning the Ukraine conflict into an all-out world war, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said. He added that he hoped peace would prevail in spite of this.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently made a number of proposals aimed at ending hostilities in Ukraine, insisting that Moscow has always been open to dialogue. However, these proposals have been rejected by Ukraine and its Western backers as unrealistic and insincere.

Speaking to reporters on board the presidential jet as he returned from a Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Astana, Kazakhstan on Friday, Erdogan lamented that “unfortunately, there are countries and elements in the West that espouse an approach which paves the way for World War III.” 

He blamed arms manufacturers for pushing their own agendas as Western powers continue to funnel military aid to Ukraine. “It is obvious that arms dealers need money. And the market for arms dealers is the West,” Erdogan said.

The Turkish head of state said that, in contrast, Russia has been promoting dialogue and a peaceful resolution of the Ukraine conflict. He said Ankara was keeping its finger on the pulse in relation to the conflict, and he hopes that Kiev and Moscow will seal a peace agreement soon. 

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The two heads of states met in Astana on Wednesday on the sidelines of the SCO gathering. While not a member of the organization, Türkiye has the status of dialogue partner. 

Addressing the issue of a potential peace deal with Ukraine during the summit on Thursday, Putin said the door to peace was still open.

“The Istanbul agreements… have not gone away, they were initialed by the head of the Ukrainian negotiating delegation, which obviously means that Ukraine was quite satisfied with them,” he said.

The Russian head of state was referring to a draft document that was on the verge of being formally signed in the Turkish capital in the spring of 2022. The accord envisaged Ukraine committing to permanent neutrality, while downsizing its military in return for certain security guarantees, Putin said.  

“These agreements remain on the table and could serve as the basis for continuing those talks,” he added.

Moscow claims that the talks were derailed by then-UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. While the British politician has vehemently denied the allegations, staffers who were close to Vladimir Zelensky at the time have effectively acknowledged that Johnson did play a key role in upending the negotiations by encouraging Kiev to continue fighting.  

Last month, President Putin said Russia was prepared to immediately launch peace talks with Ukraine if Kiev withdrew troops from Donbass and two of its other former regions, as well as committing to a neutral status. Kiev and its Western backers were quick to dismiss the proposal as an ultimatum. 

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