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Putin wants Ukraine conflict to end 'as soon as possible'

September 16, 2022

During a meeting with India's Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the Uzbekistan security summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he wanted to end the Ukraine conflict "as soon as possible," without saying how.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization's regional security summit in Uzbekistan
The main joint sessions of the summit were expected for FridayImage: picture alliance / ASSOCIATED PRESS

Russian President Vladimir Putin told Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday during a meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization's summit that he wanted to end the conflict in Ukraine "as soon as possible" and understood that India had "concerns" about the fighting.

"I know your position on the conflict in Ukraine, your concerns.... We will do our best to end this as soon as possible," Putin was reported as telling Modi during the bilateral talks.

Later on Friday, Putin held bilateral talks with Turkish President Erdogan, who has similarly urged Putin to end the war in Ukraine "as soon as possible" through diplomacy. In his prior talks with Modi, Putin claimed that it was Kyiv that insisted on fighting, not Moscow.

Putin and Erdogan addressed a number of issues stemming from the Ukraine conflict, among them grain exports, which Putin said he hopes will go to the world's poorest countries; and gas supplies to Turkey, 25% of which will be paid in rubles according to an agreement the Russian strongman said would soon come into force.  

Putin also spoke with Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev in Shanghai. Aliyev informed Putin that a flare-up in fighting between his country and Armenia had "stabilized," with a ceasefire now in its second day.

Russia's Putin said he welcomed news of deescalation while noting that the situation remained tense. 

Erdogan presses for war in Ukraine to end 'as soon as possible'

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said during one of the joint sessions on Friday that he wanted the war in Ukraine to end "as soon as possible" while his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin was in attendance. 

The Turkish president has been seeking to convince Putin of holding direct ceasefire talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Turkey. 

Erdogan added that he was making diplomatic efforts to end the war at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization's security summit. 

"We are making efforts to finalize the conflict in Ukraine through diplomacy as soon as possible," Erdogan said.

He voiced concerns that grain shipped out of Ukraine was not reaching enough developing countries, especially in Africa. Putin had expressed similar worries earlier on. 

"We are making sincere efforts to deliver the grain to those who need it most, especially our brothers and sisters in Africa," Erdogan said.

The Turkish president was set to hold bilateral talks with Putin on the sidelines of the Samarkand summit later on Friday. Turkey, which is a NATO member, has been delivering weapons and ammunition to Ukraine while trying to increase trade with Russia. For Erdogan, this resembles a "balanced" position that is necessary due to Turkey's stark dependence on Russian energy supplies. 

Xi meets Erdogan

Earlier on Friday, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Erdogan. The Chinese leader urged for "political mutual trust" between China and Turkey. 

According to Chinese state broadcaster CCTV,  Xi said: "The two sides should consolidate political mutual trust, respect each other's core interests and consolidate the political foundation of China-Turkey strategic cooperative relations." 

"We should focus on development cooperation (and) give full play to the role of various cooperation mechanisms and respective strengths between the two countries," he was quoted as saying. 

China's relationship to Turkey however has been tainted by China's alleged human rights violations against the Uyghurs, who are a Turkic-speaking Muslim minority in China's northwest Xinjiang region. 

Ukraine: Sailing grain out of a war zone

What happened when Xi met Putin on Thursday?

On Thursday, Xi and Putin had met to talk bilaterally, discussing both Ukraine and Taiwan.

Putin praised China's "balanced" approach to Ukraine during his meeting with the Chinese president. Putin had said he was ready to address Chinese "concerns" over Ukraine before the meeting.

Previously, Xi had said Chinese support for Russia knew "no limits."

"We understand your questions and your concerns in this regard, and we certainly will offer a detailed explanation of our stand on this issue during today's meeting, even though we already talked about it earlier," Putin said in acknowledging Beijing's stance.

It was Xi and Putin's first bilateral talks since the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 

Jenny Mathers, an expert in Russian politics and security and a senior lecturer at Aberystwyth University in Wales, shared her insights on Putin's ties to Chinese leader Xi Jinping with DW: "[Putin] wants the world and particularly the West to see that Russia has strong friends, that Russia is close to China because China is [...] the leading power in the world. And so Russia wants to be sure to be seen to be close to China. China, however, has been quite careful in its relationship with Russia during this war. It hasn't provided direct, clear support. It hasn't provided direct, clear condemnation. It's trying to walk the line. And so I don't think that the president of China is going to give Putin everything that he wants by any stretch." 

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is an eight-nation group, including Pakistan and India, set up and spearheaded by China and Russia in a bid to counterbalance the influence of the West. 

js,los/rt (AFP, Reuters, AP)