Turkey strikes major new deal with Ukraine as Erdogan, Zelensky and UN plot to END war | World | News

UN Secretary General António Guterres also attended the meeting. Turkish President Erdogan said that the three discussed ways to end the war in Ukraine. He cited the positive atmosphere surrounding the UN-led grain export deal to establish peace between Russia and Ukraine.

President Erdogan has been seen as a go-between to help to end the conflict, however this has led to accusations of Turkey playing both sides.

While Turkey is a NATO member – the alliance supports Ukraine in the conflict – Turkey’s economy is reliant on Russian trade which has led it to chart a middle path between the two warring nations.

The countries reportedly signed a major deal which would see Turkey help Ukraine rebuild its infrastructure which Ukraine called “a memorandum on Turkey’s participation in the reconstruction of Ukraine’s infrastructure”.

The deal focuses on several major roads and bridges which have been damaged or destroyed during the war, according to the Ukrainian Minister of Infrastructure Oleksandr Kubrakov.

President Zelensky said of the meeting: “This is a strong message of support from such a powerful country as Turkey.”

Ukrainian President Zelensky and his Turkish counterpart also discussed the exchange of prisoners between Russia and Ukraine.

Mr Erdogan said: “We attach great importance to this issue…of what happened to the exchange of these captives.”

Dozens of prisoners from Mariupol’s Azovstal steelworks died last month in a fiery explosion at a Russian prison in Ukraine. Kyiv has said that Russia orchestrated the blast to cover up evidence of war crimes there.

Russia blamed Ukraine for shelling the prison, however no Russian prison guards are thought to have been hurt in the blast.

The soldiers from Azovstal surrendered to Moscow during a UN-brokered deal which has sparked a demonstration by relatives of the prisoners to during Mr Guterres visit calling for more efforts to protect them.

The three leaders met mainly to discuss ongoing grain shipments which Russia has been allowing to pass through the Black Sea in a UN brokered deal.

More to follow.

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