Türkİye, World, Europe, Russia-Ukraine War

Ukraine asks Turkiye to close straits for Russian ships

'We want sanctions to be imposed on Russian side,' says Ukrainian ambassador in Ankara

Gozde Bayar   | 24.02.2022
Ukraine asks Turkiye to close straits for Russian ships Ukraine's ambassador to Turkiye, Vasyl Bodnar. Photo: Metin Aktas - Anadolu Agency

ANKARA

Ukraine has asked Turkiye to close Canakkale and Istanbul Straits to Russian ships, the country's ambassador in Ankara said on Thursday.

Vasyl Bodnar said at a news conference that Kyiv made an official request to Ankara to close Turkiye's airspace and straits to Russia.

"We want sanctions to be imposed on the Russian side. Particularly, we demand the seizure of the shares of the Russian business world here," Bodnar said.

He underlined the importance of providing defensive arms, as well as financial and humanitarian assistance.

"We also call for support to the citizens of Ukraine currently in Turkiye, especially those who need additional protection and security," he added.

Bodnar stressed that this is the first time in the region that a nuclear-armed country has launched an "open attack" on another independent country and "started a war".

He said Russia was attacking Ukraine on all fronts, including the borders with Crimea and Belarus, as well as the eastern Donbas region.

"The Ukrainian armed forces and our regional security units are fighting against the Russian invaders," he said.

Martial law

Ukraine has declared martial law, Bodnar said, adding that they decided to cut diplomatic ties with Russia.

"We call on the whole world to form a coalition against (Russian President Vladimir) Putin and to prevent the expansion of the war, especially in this region. All masks have now been taken down and we are now at war,” he said.

"We hope that all Turkish people will support Ukraine in this just cause," he added.

As of this morning, at least five Russian planes and two helicopters were shot down, and three tanks and several trucks were destroyed, Bodnar said.

"I would like to say that the situation is now under control. The defense and security system of our state is working.

"We believe that with the help of the international community, the Ukrainian Army, and the Ukrainian society, we will win this war. But never forget today, because the world really changed on Feb. 24," he added.

He said that after receiving confirmation from Kyiv, he would be able to share information about Ukraine's losses with the media.

Many documents circulating on the internet did not reflect the truth, he underscored, adding Russia also launched a war of fake online news.

He urged people to share information only after it is verified by official sources.

Meeting with Turkiye's deputy foreign minister

Later, Bodnar met with Turkiye's Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal at the Turkish Foreign Ministry for 20 minutes.

"The Montreux Agreement constitutes the relevant legal basis, especially for the closure of the straits. The Ukrainian side is ready to send documents confirming that the armed aggression and the war between Russia and Ukraine have begun …," Bodnar said in a press conference after meeting with Onal.

“Turkiye should not remain neutral in this conflict because it affects the vital interests of the region.”

The ambassador said clashes in Ukraine continue. "The enemy has been stopped in the Chernihiv region ... Unfortunately, our soldiers are sacrificing their lives for their citizens. The Russian Army and Russian weapons killed them,” he added.

“I am sure that if Ukraine is accepted into NATO, Russia will lose this war,” he said.

On the statement of Russia's ambassador to the UN that the Ukrainians will be happy when the Russians release them, Bodnar said the Russian diplomacy is “no longer a diplomacy.”

Ukraine, he said, takes steps in coordination with the international community and Russia has already faced the consequences as the stock market has crashed and the Russian ruble is in “very bad shape.”

Bodnar also held a closed-door meeting with his counterparts from EU countries in Turkiye and exchanged views on the Russian military intervention in his country.

Addressing reporters following the meeting, he argued that the aggression removed Russia from its seat in the civilized world and that the Moscow administration should be isolated due to its military campaign.

Russia is bombing Ukrainian cities just as it has bombed villages in Syria for several years, he said, adding, that it is high time to say "stop that aggressive state".

The diplomat further stated that the war is taking a toll on both sides with casualties and military hardware loss, and the Ukrainians are fighting at several locations under Russia's pressure.

According to reports, Russia is using weapons and missiles to target key areas in Ukrainian cities.

Early in the day, explosions were reported in several Ukrainian provinces, including the capital Kyiv, and armored military vehicles were reported to have crossed the border from Belarus into Ukraine.

The news came shortly after Putin announced a military intervention in Ukraine, just days after recognizing two separatist-held enclaves in eastern Ukraine. The recognition drew international condemnation and threats of tougher sanctions against Moscow.

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