ANKARA: Turkey on Feb. 12 issued a travel warning for eastern Ukraine and called on its citizens to avoid visiting the region.
Turkey closely follows the security situation in Ukraine, the Foreign Ministry said in a written statement.
“In this context, it is recommended that our citizens refrain from traveling to the eastern border regions of Ukraine unless they have to,” said the ministry.
Ankara also recommended the Turkish citizens take all possible precautions for their safety and contact Turkey’s embassy in Kyiv before their compulsory travel.
Efforts to defuse the crisis in Ukraine via a frenzy of telephone diplomacy failed to ease tensions on Feb. 11, with U.S. President Joe Biden warning that Russia will face “swift and severe costs” if its troops carry out an invasion.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin slammed Western claims that Moscow was planning such a move as a “provocative speculation” that could lead to conflict in the ex-Soviet country, according to a Russian readout of a call with French President Emmanuel Macron.
Weeks of tensions that have seen Russia nearly surround its western neighbor with more than 100,000 troops intensified after Washington warned that an all-out invasion could begin “any day” and Russia launched its biggest naval drills in years across the Black Sea.
Moscow and Kyiv have long been at odds over Donbass due to separatist ethnic Russians.
Amid escalation in the region, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu held a phone conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart on Feb. 12, the Foreign Ministry said.
Turkey earlier announced its readiness to do everything in its power to defuse tension between Russia and Ukraine and establish peace in the region.
Ankara makes efforts to mediate between Russia and Ukraine and offered the leaders of the two countries for a meeting in Turkey.
Turkey also attempts to hold the next meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk group between Ukraine and Russia in Istanbul.