In a telephone call to Vladimir Putin on Thursday, Sep. 29, President Erdogan urged the Russian president to reconsider negotiations with Kyiv to end the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

As reported by the Turkish President’s office, Erdogan said that for tensions to be de-escalated, “steps – particularly as regards the incorporation of various Ukrainian areas into Russia – are expected of Moscow in a bid to facilitate the process.”

Erdogan, however, did not condemn the sham referendums that took place recently in Russian-occupied areas of eastern Ukraine, nor criticize the planned annexation of these four territories into Russia.

“Of course, Zelensky wants our support on these four regions, and he wants us to meet with Mr. Putin and discuss the issue. Let’s see what happens,” Erdogan said previously in an interview on Wednesday, Sep. 28.

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Meanwhile, in a statement released by the Kremlin following the phone call, Moscow said that Putin briefed the Erdogan on “the results of the referendums on the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, and Kherson and Zaporizhzhia Regions on joining the Russian Federation.”

“It was stressed that the voting took place in a transparent manner, in full compliance with the norms and principles of international law,” the Kremlin said.

The sham referendums and expected annexation of stolen Ukrainian territories has been widely condemned by Western leaders.

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On Wednesday, British Prime Minister Liz Truss told President Zelensky that the UK “would never recognize Russian attempts to annex sovereign territory.”

A Downing Street spokesperson said that in a phone call between the two leaders, Truss gave reassurance of the U.K’s “steadfast support in light of Russia’s sham referendums in Ukraine.”

“The Prime Minister made clear that the UK would never recognize Russian attempts to annex sovereign territory,” the spokesperson added, reporting that “[Truss] reiterated that Ukraine could depend on the UK’s support until President Putin was defeated.”

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Meanwhile, the President of the United States, Joe Biden, issued the following statement shortly ahead of voting:

“The United States will never recognize Ukrainian territory as anything other than part of Ukraine. Russia’s referenda are a sham – a false pretext to try to annex parts of Ukraine by force in flagrant violation of international law, including the United Nations Charter.

“We will work with our allies and partners to impose additional swift and severe economic costs on Russia.

“The United States stands with our partners around the world – and with every nation that respects the core tenets of the UN charter – in rejecting whatever fabricated outcomes Russia will announce.

“We will continue to support the Ukrainian people and provide them with security assistance to help them defend themselves as they courageously resist Russia’s invasion.”

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