Saturday, July 13, 2024

Russia says Turkey turning into “unfriendly country” following Ukraine president visit

A Russian defense official says that Turkey is turning into an "unfriendly country" after a series of "provocative decisions." The comments follow a visit to Turkey by the Ukrainian president.

“The events of the past weeks, unfortunately, clearly demonstrate that Turkey is gradually and steadily continuing to turn from a neutral country into an unfriendly one,” Viktor Bondarev, the head of the Russian Federation Council Committee on Defense and Security, told state media TASS.

The series of “provocative decisions” came after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visited Turkey on Friday, he added, pointing to Ankara endorsing Ukraine’s NATO bid and releasing Azovstal leaders, despite an agreement about them staying in Turkey until the end of the war.

Zelensky said on Saturday that five men, part of the Azovstal defense which defended Mariupol following Russia’s invasion in February 2022, would return back to Ukraine from Turkey. The five Ukrainian soldiers surrendered following the fall of Mariupol.

After their release from Russian captivity, they were taken to Turkey as part of a prisoner swap back in September where they were obliged to stay until the end of the war, according to the terms of the swap.

“Such behavior could not be called anything other than a stab in the back,” he said, calling the “unfriendly step” a result of pressure from NATO.

Bondarev stated that the only reason NATO needs Turkey is “to control the Black Sea straits and stabilize or destabilize the Middle East region,” and said Turkey should think about “leaving NATO and creating an alliance with Russia.”

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