Russian President Vladimir Putin called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday to share his demands for Ukraine, and a close adviser to Erdogan said he believes Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will be open to some of them.
Erdogan has been in contact with Russian and Ukrainian officials throughout the invasion of Ukraine. Ibrahim Kalin, an adviser to Erdogan and his spokesman, listened in on the call with Putin, and spoke with BBC News world affairs editor John Simpson about what they discussed.
Kalin said Putin sounded clear and concise during the conversation, and had two categories of demands. Ukraine could meet the first four rather easily, Kalin said. Ukraine would have to stay neutral and not apply to NATO, Kalin stated, and would have to undergo a disarmament process and protect the Russian language in the country. Ukraine would also have to agree to go through "de-Nazification."
Subscribe to The Week
Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.
Zelensky is Jewish and had several relatives die in the Holocaust. Asking for the government to go through "de-Nazification" is "deeply offensive" to Zelensky, Simpson wrote, "but the Turkish side believes it will be easy enough for Mr. Zelensky to accept. Perhaps it will be enough for Ukraine to condemn all forms of neo-Nazism and promise to clamp down on them."
Kalin was much more vague when describing the more contentious demands, only saying they involved separatist areas of eastern Ukraine and Crimea. The assumption, Simpson wrote, is that Putin will say Ukraine must give up the territory held by separatists and formally accept that Crimea, which was illegally annexed in 2014, is officially part of Russia.
Putin told Erdogan that when discussing these demands, he will want to hold an in-person meeting with Zelensky, Kalin said. The Ukrainian president has already stated he is ready and waiting to have a face-to-face discussion with Putin.
Continue reading for free
We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.
Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.