Russia opposes Turkey-Ukraine cooperation on Crimea
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov speaks to participants of an online forum in Moscow, Russia, Friday, May 21, 2021. (Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service via AP)

Russia opposes Turkey-Ukraine cooperation on Crimea

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has said he opposes Turkey’s pledge to boost cooperation with Ukraine, claiming that it attempts to fuel “militaristic sentiment.”

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last month pledged support to Kyiv amid a buildup of Russian forces along its border with Ukraine.

Erdoğan said at the time that Turkey, a NATO member, and Ukraine had launched a platform with their foreign and defense ministers to discuss defense industry cooperation, but assured that this was “not in any way a move against third countries.”

“We strongly recommend that our Turkish colleagues carefully analyze the situation and stop fuelling Kyiv’s militaristic sentiment,” Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said in an interview with Argumenty i Fakty newspaper.

He said that encouraging “aggressive” Ukrainian actions toward Russian-annexed Crimea amounted to encroachment on Russia’s territorial integrity.

“We hope Ankara will adjust its line based on our legitimate concerns.”

Turkey, along with the rest of NATO, criticized Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and voiced support for Ukraine’s territorial integrity as Kyiv’s forces battle pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Turkey, which faces Ukraine and Russia across the Black Sea to the north, also sold drones to Kyiv in 2019.

NATO member Turkey has forged close cooperation with Russia over conflicts in Syria, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as in the areas of defense and energy. But Turkey has criticized Crimea’s annexation and supported Ukraine’s territorial integrity and has also sold drones to Kyiv in 2019.

Ukraine and Russia have traded blame for the increase in violence in the conflict, which Kyiv says has killed 14,000 people since 2014.

Moscow’s ties with the West have languished at post-Cold War lows since the annexation of Crimea, which resulted in a flurry of sanctions being imposed against Russia.