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Putin Signals Readiness for Peace Talks if Kyiv Cedes Occupied Regions

The ruins of a church in eastern Ukraine's Donetsk region. Dimitar DILKOFF / AFP

President Vladimir Putin told Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan he was open to dialog with Ukraine if Kyiv accepts the territories occupied by Moscow as Russian, the Kremlin said Thursday. 

"Putin again confirmed Russia's openness to serious dialogue on the condition of Kyiv authorities fulfilling the well-known and repeatedly voiced requirements of taking into account the new territorial realities," the Kremlin said in a statement.

"President Erdogan said that calls for peace and negotiations should be supported by a unilateral ceasefire and a vision for a fair solution," the Turkish president's office said following a telephone call between the two leaders.

Russian troops occupy large swathes of eastern and southern Ukraine, and the Kremlin claims it has annexed the entirety of the Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson regions, despite this being far from the case.

"The Russian side emphasized the destructive role of Western states, pumping the Kyiv regime with weapons and military equipment, providing it with operational information and targets," the statement added.

The leaders also discussed the implementation of a landmark grain deal, brokered by the UN with the help of Turkey, to unblock Ukrainian grain. 

The Kremlin said the pair discussed "the unblocking of food and fertilizer supplies from Russia" and the need for "the removal of all barriers to Russian exports." 

Russia briefly exited the grain deal in October after a drone attack on its Black Sea Fleet, only to re-enter it within days but officials have complained of restrictions on Russian products.

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