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Ukraine’s Turkey ambassador: strategic ties intact but public unhappy over Turkish stance on Russia

Turkey's ambassador to Kyiv has been summoned to voice Ukraine's displeasure over its grain stolen by Russia and shipped to Turkish ports.
Ukrainian Ambassador to Turkey Vasyl Bodnar (C) speaks to media as he takes part in a protest against Russia's military invasion of Ukraine at Ulus districit in Ankara, on March 5, 2022.

Turkey’s relations with Ukraine are showing increasing signs of strain five months into Russia’s invasion of its Black Sea neighbor. The brewing friction stems from Ukrainian allegations that Russia is stealing its grain and shipping it to Turkey and Ankara’s reluctance to crack down on the illicit trade.

Turkish inaction is a symptom of the deeper malaise besetting the two countries as Ankara seeks to keep ties with the Kremlin steady even as Russian forces continue to commit atrocities against Ukraine. Some accuse Turkey of tilting ever more toward Russia, a view that pro-Kremlin media channels in Ukraine zealously propagate. Turkey insists that it is “pro-Ukraine” but “not anti-Russian.”

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