BRUSSELS — President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine referred to as publicly on Saturday for direct negotiations with President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, however a senior Turkish official mentioned that Mr. Putin was not prepared for such talks.
“Zelensky is ready to meet, but Putin thinks that the positions to have this meeting at the leaders’ level are not close enough yet,” Ibrahim Kalin, a chief adviser and spokesman for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, mentioned in an interview.
Turkey and Mr. Erdogan are enjoying a big mediating function between Russia and Ukraine, looking for a path towards a longer-term cease-fire and severe negotiations on a peaceable decision to a brutal conflict that has lasted greater than three weeks. Mr. Erdogan spoke to each Mr. Zelensky and Mr. Putin on Thursday to gauge their positions, and Mr. Kalin was on the decision.
The Turkish official mentioned that Mr. Putin now not advocated changing Mr. Zelensky however “now accepts the reality of Zelensky as the leader of the Ukrainian people, whether he likes it or not.”
“I believe that meeting will take place at some point,” Mr. Kalin mentioned. “There will be a peace deal at some point. Of course, we all want this to happen sooner rather than later, but probably Putin thinks that he wants to be in a position of strength when he does that, and not appear to be weak, weakened by either military losses or by the economic sanctions.”