MOSCOW, July 10. /TASS/. Turkey has the absolute right to develop relations with Ukraine, but Russia hopes they will not be aimed against Moscow, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday.
"Certainly, as a modern state, Turkey has the absolute right to develop relations with any country, including Ukraine. But, being partners with Turkey, we are hopeful that that relationship will not be aimed against us," he said, when asked to comment on Ankara’s moves to transfer the commanders of the Azov nationalist battalion (banned and designated as a terrorist organization in Russia) to Kiev and launch the production of Bayraktar drones in Ukraine.
The Russian presidential spokesman described relations between Russia and Turkey as "quite close, developed, multifaceted and mutually beneficial." However, "there are certain areas where we have differences," he added.
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said on Saturday that he was coming back to Ukraine together with five commanders of the Azov battalion, who had been in Turkey. Prior to that he met with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday.
The issue was among the topics Foreign Ministers Sergey Lavrov of Russia and Hakan Fidan of Turkey discussed on the phone on Sunday. According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, Lavrov and Fidan reiterated the importance of strengthening trust in relations between their countries. The two diplomats also discussed the latest situation around Ukraine and prospects for further efforts toward ensuring global food security, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported, amid what it said was the West’s inability to implement the grain deal.