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Turkey has proposed hosting a new round of negotiations between Russia and Ukraine in Istanbul.
During a Monday phone conversation, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that Turkey is open "if agreed upon in principle by both parties, to meet with Russia, Ukraine and the United Nations in Istanbul, and to assume a role in a possible observation mechanism."
According to a statement from the Turkish presidential office, Erdogan highlighted "the need for steps that would minimize the negative effects of the war and build trust by restoring as soon as possible the ground for peace between Russia and Ukraine."
A response from Russia to the Turkish proposal has not yet been given. The Kremlin press service said the two presidents discussed the Ukraine issue, focusing on providing safe navigation in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov and eliminating the mine threat in their water areas.
"Vladimir Putin underlined the readiness of the Russian side to facilitate the unhindered maritime transit of goods in coordination with Turkish partners. This also applies to the export of grain from Ukrainian ports," the Kremlin press service added.
⚡️Putin and Erdogan held telephone talks during which they discussed the situation in Ukraine - Turkish presidential office.
Turkey has maintained a neutral position regarding the conflict between Russia and Ukraine that erupted last February 24. The country has remained in contact with both sides, refraining from supporting sanctions against Moscow and endeavoring to take a mediator's role in the conflict.
Turkey hosted talks between Russia and Ukraine in late March, which did not result in any real breakthrough, although both sides noted some progress. Currently, negotiations between the two sides are at a standstill.