Ukraine’s Zelensky offers Istanbul as site of peace talks

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has rejected Moscow's offer to start peace negotiations in Belarus, instead, pointing at Istanbul, Warsaw, Bratislava, Budapest or Baku for talks.

"Warsaw, Bratislava, Budapest, Istanbul, Baku. We proposed all of them," Zelensky said on Feb. 27 in an address posted online.

Zelensky stressed that Russia has been carrying out some of its attacks on Ukraine from Belarus, therefore he is open to talks only in locations that are "not showing aggression" toward his country.

"And any other city in a country from whose territory missiles do not fly would suit us," he stated.

Meanwhile, Turkey has attempted again to host talks for a possible ceasefire between Russia and Ukraine and held phone diplomacy with both countries at the weekend.

Turkey has been making efforts for a ceasefire between Moscow and Kyiv, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told his Ukrainian counterpart in a phone call on Feb. 26. The president offered his condolences to Ukrainian citizens killed in Russia's attack and wished a speedy recovery to the wounded, said the presidency.

Earlier on the same day, Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu held a phone conversation with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, and reiterated that Turkey was ready to host any possible negotiations between Moscow and Kiev.

He reiterated Turkey's "readiness to host negotiations that could take place between the Russian Federation and Ukraine," said sources from the Turkish Foreign Ministry. Çavuşoğlu also asked Lavrov to end the military operation in Ukraine. The minister told Lavrov that the further escalation of military tensions would not benefit anyone.

Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and his Ukrainian counterpart, Oleksii Reznikov,...

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