Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by phone on Thursday, during which Erdogan called for a unilateral cease-fire to support negotiations to halt Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Erdogan’s office stated that the peace talks should also include a “vision for a fair solution.”
Erdogan has previously attempted to mediate an end to the conflict and helped facilitate grain exports through negotiations with Russia and Ukraine. He is also expected to speak with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday.
Patriarch Kirill, head of the Russian Orthodox Church, also appealed for a cease-fire during the Orthodox Christmas holiday this week.
In related news, French President Emmanuel Macron announced to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday that France would be sending light AMX-10 RC armored combat vehicles, a type of light tank that has been used by the French military since the 1980s but is currently being phased out, to aid Ukraine in its war against Russia.
This marks the first time that Western-designed tanks have been supplied to the Ukrainian armed forces. It is unclear how many of the combat vehicles will be provided. In addition, U.S. President Joe Biden stated that the U.S. is considering sending Bradley Fighting Vehicles to Ukraine.
The U.S. and Western allies have been providing financial and military aid to Ukraine and have imposed multiple rounds of sanctions against Russia in response to the invasion.
France has already supplied Ukraine with modern artillery, armored personnel carriers, anti-aircraft missiles, and air-defense systems, while the U.S. has provided over 2,000 combat vehicles, including 477 Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicles and more than 1,200 Humvees.
In December, Biden also announced that the U.S. would be sending Ukraine a Patriot missile battery, the most advanced surface-to-air missile system available, for the first time in order to defend against Russian aerial attacks.
Putin has dismissed the weapons system as outdated and claimed that Russia’s missile systems would be able to shoot them down.