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Ukraine, Turkey Pres. Meet in Istanbul 04/10 12:26


   ISTANBUL (AP) -- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is in Istanbul on 
Saturday to meet with Turkey's president.

   A statement from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's office said the 
two leaders would discuss bilateral relations, characterizing them at a 
"strategic partnership level."

   Zelenskyy's visit to Turkey comes amid renewed tensions in eastern Ukraine, 
where Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed separatists have been fighting since 
2014. In a visit to troops there this week, Zelenskyy said breaches of a July 
truce were increasing. Separatists authorities have also accused Ukrainian 
forces of violating the cease-fire.

   Russia has reinforced its troops along the border and warned Ukraine against 
trying to retake control of the separatist-controlled territory. Kyiv rejects 
that it is preparing for an offensive. The Russian military buildup has raised 
concerns in the United States and Europe.

   The Turkish and Russian presidents spoke on the phone Friday. Among the 
issues discussed was Ukraine. The Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin 
expressed concern that Ukraine "recently resumed dangerous provocations on the 
contact line."

   Turkey is a NATO member. But Erdogan and Putin have forged a close personal 
relationship, sealing energy and trade deals. They have also negotiated for 
opposing sides in conflicts, including Syria, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh.

   Erdogan's office also said he would discuss with Zelenskyy the living 
conditions of Crimean Tatars, who have ethnic links to Turks. Moscow annexed 
the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.

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