President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have agreed that the Russian leader will visit Turkey “soon”, Interfax cited a Kremlin aide as saying on Friday.
The visit would be Putin’s first to a NATO country since he ordered tens of thousands of troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022. Putin has only rarely travelled outside Russia since the beginning of full-scale hostilities.
There is an invitation from the President of Turkey. Putin and Erdogan agreed that the visit will be in the near future, but we have not yet talked about a specific day, specific dates,” Interfax cited Kremlin foreign policy advisor Yury Ushakov as saying.
Erdogan, re-elected last month for another five-year term, has sought to maintain strong ties with both Moscow and Kyiv since the start of the conflict in Ukraine.
Turkey has refused to join its Western allies in imposing economic sanctions on Russia, but has also supplied arms to Ukraine and called for its sovereignty to be respected.
Ankara has also helped to broker prisoner exchanges and, along with the United Nations, negotiated a deal in July 2022 to allow for the safe export of grain from Ukrainian ports via the Black Sea.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Putin in March over alleged war crimes in Ukraine, meaning he may run the risk of being arrested if he travels abroad. However, Ankara is not a party to the Rome Statute, which created the ICC, and so Putin would run no such risk by visiting Turkey.