By Janet Ekstract
ISTANBUL- Ukraine’s Ambassador to Turkiye Vasyl Bodnar openly rejected claims that Turkiye is arming Ukraine with cluster bombs. Bodnar labeled the claim an unfounded rumor and told Anadolu Agency (AA) that international law prohibits cluster bombs and ammunition. Bodnar said his country complies with international laws in the ongoing war to prevent Russia from conquering Ukraine. The ambassador’s response came after he was asked about a recent article in U.S. Foreign Policy Magazine entitled “Turkiye Is Sending Cold War Era Cluster Bombs to Ukraine.” Bodnar commented that the article referred to did not specifically state any official sources and relies on what he called “rumors.”
Bodnar’s official comment to Anadolu Agency: “I totally deny it. It is not true. The information was specifically constructed as psychological information warfare weapons, just to undermine the relations between Ukraine and Turkiye and try to paint the wrong image of Ukraine and Turkiye.” The ambassador added that during Tuesday’s Ombudsman meeting held in Ankara, that it was the first time that the Ukrainian and Russian human rights commissioners Dmitro Lubinets and Tatyana Moskalkova had met. He also said that both commissioners met separately and with the Chief Turkish Ombudsman Seref Malkoc during talks organized by the Turkish Ombudsman Institution (KDK) who hosted a two-day conference in Ankara.
Talks continued on Wednesday Bodnar said because there were several issues that were under discussion and that both parties discussed the rights of civilians, prisoner exchanges and the status of those gravely injured in the war. Both Ukraine and Russia have agreed to swap 40 prisoners and take additional steps to address issues regarding creating a viable humanitarian corridor. Bodnar indicated that in the future that working groups to deal with prisoner exchanges or civilians can be a useful result from the talks.
Meanwhile, Bodnar expressed Ukraine’s gratitude to Turkiye for hosting the talks and remarked: “We believe that Turkiye could play a considerable role in this process because, despite the communications, there is still a lack of trust (between Moscow and Kyiv). So, Turkiye here is a trusted partner for Ukraine and has good communication with Russia.” The ambassador also lauded the Turkish government for its efforts to bring about and facilitate a ceasefire as well as praised Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu for “officially declaring Ankara’s readiness to support Ukraiine’s proposed plan for peace.”
The ambassador commented that it was because of Turkiye and Ukraine that global food security is being maintained. As Bodnar explained: “Turkiye and Ukraine are currently nations that have saved the world from hunger because grain from Ukraine is going to countries in need. Both nations are taking responsibility for global food security. This is important.” He said that U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres plans on hosting a peace summit in New York City on February 24, the anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.