Turkey calls for Russia-Ukraine tensions to be settled through talks

Turkey hopes for a de-escalation of tension between Russia and Ukraine and supports the settlement of the problems through negotiations Turkish presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın said on Sunday.

"Turkey defends Ukraine's territorial integrity and the rights of Crimean Tatars,’’ Kalın said on Twitter, adding that "All kinds of tensions and conflicts in the Black Sea and the region are to the detriment of everyone.’’

Kalın’s remarks arrive a day after Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Istanbul. 

Erdoğan said Ankara was ready to support Ukraine amid growing tensions with Russia over the latter’s military build-up at the border,where government forces and Russia-backed separatists have been fighting since 2014. 

Russia has been increasing the number of troops at the Ukrainian border, but maintains that they should not be seen as a threat.

On Friday, A top Russian official warned that Moscow could intervene to help Russian-speaking residents in eastern Ukraine if Ukraine launches an all-out assault on separatists there.

"Everything depends on the scale of the conflagration,’’ BBC cited the head of Russia's presidential administration, Dmitry Kozak, as saying while alsowarning that an escalation could mark the "beginning of the end" for Ukraine.’’