In the standoff between Russia and Ukraine, the latter seems to have another ally ready to back Kyiv in a potential war against Russia – Turkey.
Al-Monitor reports that Ukraine is on a buying spree purchasing fleets of the Turkish Bayraktar TBT 2 drones at a discounted price for a possible war against Russia.
Lt. Col. Yuri Ignati, spokesperson for the Air Force Command of the Armed Forces of Ukraine told Al-Monitor: “All in all, Ukraine has approximately 20 Bayraktar drones, but we will not stop there,”
And although Biden has been showing support for Ukraine recently, Ignati said that it is Turkey, not Washington, who is considered to be the country that boosts Ukrainian morale more than any other and whose actions “show that it isn’t afraid of Russia.”.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is scheduled to travel to Kyiv on Feb. 3 to meet with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy to demonstrate deepening security, trade, and diplomatic ties which the two nations call a “strategic partnership.” The two leaders are scheduled to sign a free trade partnership while hosting other defense and commercial agreements.
Turkey calls Moscow’s annexation of Crimea an ‘illegal occupation’. Ankara is also an outspoken supporter of Ukraine’s ambitions to join NATO, which Putin seems ready to risk a war to prevent from happening.
Less spoken about is the support Turkey gave to Ukraine’s Orthodox Church after splitting from their Russian counterpart in 2018. The process was ratified in a ceremony in Turkey on Christmas Eve in 2019. The move, which resulted in the Russian Orthodox Church losing land, followers, and, most importantly, its spiritual authority over Ukraine infuriated both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Patriarch to harshly criticize the move.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that “Turkey’s sale of [unmanned aerial vehicles] is viewed not as a mere commercial deal, but a token of solidarity and support in difficult times”