Turkey ‘rejects’ Russia's decision to recognize Ukraine's breakaway regions

Turkey on Feb. 22 rejected Russia's decision to recognize Ukraine's breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, calling it “unacceptable.”

Turkish and Ukrainian flags fly during a welcoming ceremony of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan before his meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kyiv.


Turkey on Feb. 22 assailed Russia's recognition of two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine as independent, calling it a violation of international agreements and Ukraine's territorial integrity.

NATO member Turkey, which shares a maritime border with both Ukraine and Russia in the Black Sea, has good ties with both its neighbors, and has offered to mediate the crisis, while warning Moscow against invading Ukraine. Ankara also opposes sanctions on Russia.

"The decision of Russia to recognize the Donetsk and Luhansk Republics amounts to a clear violation of not only the Minsk agreements, but also Ukraine's political unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity. We find Russia's so-called decision to be unacceptable and reject it," the ministry said, calling on all sides to respect international law.

Meanwhile, the ministry "strongly advised" Turkish citizens in eastern Ukraine to leave the region."Within the framework of the latest developments in eastern regions of Ukraine, our citizens are strongly advised to leave eastern regions of Ukraine," the ministry said on Twitter.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the deployment of troops to two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine, accelerating a crisis the West fears could unleash a major war.

A Reuters witness saw tanks and other military hardware moving through the separatist-controlled city of Donetsk after Putin formally recognised the breakaway regions and ordered the deployment of Russian forces to "keep the peace".

About five tanks were seen in a column on the edge of Donetsk and two more in another part of town, a Reuters reporter said. No insignia were visible on the vehicles.

Putin's announcement drew international condemnation and immediate U.S. sanctions to halt U.S. business activity in the breakaway regions and ban import of all goods from those areas.

The measures were separate from sanctions the United States and its allies had prepared if Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said.