(Ankara) Ukrainian and Russian human rights mediators called for Turkey’s intervention regarding a “humanitarian corridor” and the exchange of some 40 prisoners from the two countries, during a meeting on Tuesday and Wednesday in Ankara.
Mr. Erdogan assured in return that he was “ready” to play this role.
“We exchanged lists of military prisoners and we decided to return more than forty of them,” Russian representative Tatiana Moskalkova told the press.
His Ukrainian counterpart did not specify or comment on his country’s position on this point.
Ankara has already played a key role in a September prisoner swap between Russia and Ukraine.
Moreover, according to the Turkish mediator who met the representatives of the two belligerent countries, the latter asked for Turkey’s help in order to open a humanitarian corridor to evacuate vulnerable people.
“There are wounded, women and children left in the middle of the fighting on both sides. The two mediators expressed a common request: the opening of a humanitarian corridor under the aegis of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as he did for the cereal corridor” in the Black Sea, Seref Malkoç told the press, who met with Ukrainian and Russian representatives in Ankara.
“Mr. Malkoç expressed a proposal regarding the opening of a corridor for the injured. We are ready for it, ”said the Turkish head of state shortly after, without specifying the outlines or commenting on a possible exchange of prisoners.
The two Ukrainian and Russian emissaries, Dmytro Loubinets and Tatiana Moskalkova, met for the first time on Tuesday in Ankara and then again on Wednesday in the presence of Mr. Malkoç and the speaker of the Turkish parliament.
Together, they “discussed a wide range of humanitarian issues and the provision of human rights assistance to citizens of both countries,” Loubinets reported on social media.
“Humanitarian aid to Ukrainian and Russian citizens” was well mentioned, confirmed for his part Mr.me Moskalkova.
Mr. Erdogan has maintained since the beginning of the Russian offensive in Ukraine at the end of February his relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Ankara, while supplying arms to Kyiv, regularly offers its mediation to the two belligerents.
A member of NATO, Turkey has not associated itself with Western sanctions against Russia.
In addition to his intervention in favor of the exchange of prisoners between the two countries in conflict, Mr. Erdogan also facilitated the conclusion in July, under the aegis of the UN, of an agreement allowing the export of Ukrainian cereals via the Black Sea and the Bosphorus.
More than 16 million tons of food products were thus able to be taken out of Ukrainian ports despite the war.