Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that Russian President Vladimir Putin must return all land that Russia has occupied, including Crimea.
The Black Sea peninsula should be returned to its “rightful owners,” Erdoğan told PBS NewsHour on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, in comments likely to provoke ire in Moscow.
Asked whether Russia should be allowed to keep Crimea in a negotiated end to the war, Erdoğan said, “These are our descendants at the same time, the people who are living there. If you were to take this step forward, if you could leave us, you would also be relieving the Crimean Tatars and Ukraine as well. That’s what we have always been saying.”
Erdoğan said he had been telling Putin this since 2014. “But since then, unfortunately, no step has been taken forward,” he added. [Continue reading…]
Russian-installed leaders in occupied areas of four Ukrainian regions set out plans for referendums on joining Russia this week, a step an ally of President Vladimir Putin said would alter the geopolitical landscape forever.
Russian officials portrayed the move as one that would give Moscow a claim to territory that it could defend with any means possible. Ukraine dismissed it as a stunt by Russia to try to reclaim the initiative after crushing losses on the battlefield.
“Sham ‘referendums’ will not change anything,” tweeted Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba.
“Russia has been and remains an aggressor illegally occupying parts of Ukrainian land. Ukraine has every right to liberate its territories and will keep liberating them whatever Russia has to say.”
Russian-installed officials announced planned referendums for Sept. 23-27 in the Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia provinces, representing around 15% of Ukrainian territory or an area about the size of Hungary or Portugal. [Continue reading…]