Erdoğan speaks with Russian, Ukrainian leaders amid escalation in war

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan held separate phone talks with his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts, Vladimir Putin and Volodmyry Zelensky, respectively, amid escalation in the ongoing war between the two neighbors.

Erdoğan, who has been reelected as the 13th president of Türkiye, spoke first with Zelensky and then with Putin on June 7, according to the reports. His engagement with the two leaders came after Ukraine and Russia accused each of the destruction of the Kakhovka hydroelectric dam, which was ripped open early June 6 after a reported blast.

According to the separate statements issued by the presidency after the conversations, Erdoğan proposed the establishment of an international commission with the participation of the experts from Russia, Ukraine as well as the United Nations and Türkiye to probe the destruction of the dam.

He also told his counterparts that Türkiye is ready to do whatever is necessary to this end, reminding them that the same way the parties agreed on a grain deal, similar methods can be used this time around, too.

Erdoğan also urged the leaders to return to negotiations as the prolongation of the war will result in more civilian casualties, underlining that Ankara will endure its efforts for a just peace.

Erdoğan, in his conversation with Putin, underlined the importance of the continuation of the grain initiative to prevent a major food crisis in the world. Russia extended the grain deal for another two months on May 17 with threats that it would be the last extension in case its conditions were not met.

Russia says it cannot export its products, such as wheat, ammonium and other items, due to the impacts of the secondary sanctions on Russian ships and banks.

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