Russian Freedom Legion destroy Kremlin's emblem
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan described the invasion of Ukraine as “unacceptable” in February. But he added at the time his country would not turn its back either on Ukraine or Russia.
Attention will now, then, be drawn to Ankara after reports suggested the Kremlin asked Turkey to build a drone-making factory in Russia.
The Kyiv Independent said: “Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan reportedly said that during a meeting recently in Tehran with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin asked him for a deal with the Turkish defence firm, CNN Turkey reports.”
It added: “Baykar is known for its Bayraktar combat drones effectively used in Ukraine against the Russian military.
“But Baykar’s CEO Haluk Bayraktar earlier said his company wouldn’t sell the drones to Russia.
“‘Turkey supports Ukraine with combat drones. We would never do that,’ he said.”
Russia has already in recent weeks been receiving drones from Iran.
These, according to US officials, could number in the “several hundreds”.
Moscow received a further boost after reports suggested Iran is “ready” also to export military equipment and weapons.
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The Kremlin will likely be looking to accept any support it can acquire, given the rapid rate of ammunition consumption in the ongoing conflict.
A senior Western official recently told the Washington Post: “There will come a time when the tiny advances Russia is making become unsustainable in light of the costs.
“They will need a significant pause to regenerate capability.”
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Were Turkey to provide Russia with support in the shape of crafting new military-grade drones to be used in Ukraine, tensions in the West would rise given the country’s position in NATO.
Erdogan has already faced criticism after he threatened to bloc the accession to the military alliance of Sweden and Finland.
Despite having agreed to the move after initially showing opposition, the Turkish leader has again suggested he could block the entrance of the two Nordic countries.
Western leaders fear this would make NATO look weak in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Putin’s reported request to Turkey remains unverified.
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