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World Politics
Reference:

International presence in Ukraine in the context of the triangle "Ukraine-Turkey-Russia"

Chmyreva Vera

PhD in History

Researcher, Institute of Economics of the Russian Academy of Sciences

117218, Russia, g. Moscow, ul. Nakhimovskii Prospekt, 32

vera1305@mail.ru
Other publications by this author
 

 

DOI:

10.25136/2409-8671.2022.1.37419

Received:

27-01-2022


Published:

28-03-2022


Abstract: The subject of the study is the peculiarities of Ukraine's foreign policy development at the present stage in the context of the triangle "Ukraine-Turkey-Russia". The paper shows that Ukraine is currently a zone of growing international presence: the involvement of a wide range of participants in the region in the person of international state and non-state actors, the actual internationalization of the Ukrainian transport and logistics system and port infrastructure, strengthening state sovereignty and increasing the country's defense capability through the implementation of extensive programs of financial support from Western partners – evidence systemic and long-term processes that directly affect the interests of the Russian Federation. The role of the Turkish factor in Ukraine is studied through the prism of Turkish-Ukrainian relations and Ukrainian Euro-Atlantic integration. The balance of Turkey's relations with Ukraine and Russia is shown. The analysis of the possibilities of Turkish mediation in de-escalation of relations between Russia-Ukraine and Russia-NATO is given. The relevance of the research topic is determined by the current tense international situation and military-political escalation in the region. The source base of the work includes normative-legislative acts, sources of normative-reporting and informational nature, journalistic sources. The scientific novelty of the article lies in the involvement of the corpus of the latest sources, the original perspective of the study and the theoretical and methodological approach. As a result of the analysis and on the basis of up-to-date factual information, the author concludes that despite Kiev's active support for the territorial integrity of Ukraine and the growth of military-technical cooperation between the countries, Turkey is not interested in the Ukrainian-Russian confrontation. Military escalation will create risks for the Turkish Republic of direct involvement in conflict relations between NATO and the Russian Federation and will deprive it of the opportunity to become an "independent center" of political influence in the region. At the same time, it is emphasized that Turkish mediation and the internationalization of the Ukrainian issue can contribute to de-escalating tensions and strengthening the foreign policy positions of the Russian Federation.


Keywords:

Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, USA, NATO, the Ukrainian crisis, international presence, internationalization, mediation, Russian-Turkish relations

This article is automatically translated. You can find original text of the article here.

Ukraine is a zone of active international presence

For three decades, with active external participation, the processes aimed at integrating Ukraine into the community of Euro-Atlantic States have been continuing: Ukraine is integrating into the Euro-Atlantic security system, the common European economic space, the maritime community, the pan-European transport infrastructure and aviation space; a large-scale transformation of the Ukrainian legal, economic and political system is underway. The development of strategic relations with key foreign partners the United States, EU and NATO member states - is a landmark of Ukraine's current foreign policy agenda, and systemic European and EuroAtlantic integration is a priority of national interests and ensuring national security, enshrined in the country's Constitution. It is significant that in the Ukrainian National Security Strategy (NSS) 2020, the United States was declared a key partner of Ukraine in the Black Sea region and the guarantor of the country's sovereignty and security, relations with which have a "priority strategic character" [1]. The 2021 Strategy focuses on the efforts of the international community to support the state sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine under the auspices of the United States [2]. In this context, a special role is assigned to Ukraine's strategic partnership with regional actors, including the Republic of Turkey, which appears to be a guide in the implementation of Ukrainian Euro-Atlantic integration in a changing geopolitical space: we are talking about the growing US-Chinese confrontation, the crisis of international security mechanisms, the stagnation of the EU enlargement process, "the EU's restraint in strengthening its geopolitical the role in the region", trends towards changes in globalization and increased regionalization, which "may lead to increased conflictogenicity and even greater dysfunction of the international legal order," as stated in the National Security Council of Ukraine [2].

The active involvement of the Alliance states in the processes of Ukrainian Westernization is beyond doubt and is advertised in official state documents, moreover, since 2014 it has been based on progressive anti-Russian rhetoric and a warning that "the eastern frontier of Europe remains in the focus of Russia's geopolitical interests" [3]. The processes of political and economic development of Ukraine are in the focus of attention of American government agencies, foreign policy and foreign trade organizations; currently, there is an intensification of contacts in all directions. At the same time, regional security in the understanding of Euro-Atlantic partners includes two interrelated components. On the one hand, we are talking about protecting Ukrainian sovereignty, which in this case is identical to strengthening the country's defense and military potential and is being implemented with the active support of allies (the plan for large-scale international exercises on the territory of Ukraine in 2022 is fixed in a bill approved by parliament [4]). On the other hand, it supports the interests of foreign business entities that are actively involved in long-term economic projects in Ukraine, in particular, in the field of national transport and logistics infrastructure.

In this context, the British presence in Ukraine attracts attention: in addition to the existing support (the mission of British military instructors "Orbital", operating since 2015), in 2020. The UK has led a new multinational initiative in Ukraine to train naval forces [5], at the same time, it is strengthening support for the Ukrainian shipbuilding potential and crediting facilities of the naval base of Ukraine in the Azov and Black Seas, is implementing joint production of naval vessels and is engaged in the construction of naval infrastructure within the framework of the signed Agreement on Political Cooperation, Free Trade and strategic partnership [6]. In the published joint communique following the results of the first meeting of the Ukrainian-British Strategic Dialogue on December 8, 2021, the British government announced an increase in financial support for projects in Ukraine and plans to establish closer trade ties and strengthen cooperation in 2022.[7]

The priority directions of Ukraine's foreign policy, stated in the National Security Strategy of the country, are ensuring state sovereignty and independence, restoring the territorial integrity of the country, countering the aggression of the Russian Federation, the course towards gaining full membership in the EU and NATO, as well as promoting Ukrainian exports and attracting foreign investment" [2].

By developing economic multi-vector, Ukraine is diversifying international cooperation, attracting investments, first of all, from technology leaders: the Ministry of Infrastructure of Ukraine (MIU) actively cooperates with international partners from the USA, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Japan, Canada, France, etc. Together with representatives of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the International Finance Corporation, MIU offers foreign investors concession projects for the development of Ukrainian ports, rail transport and airports [8]. In particular, a subsidiary of the German logical holding HHLA (Container Terminal Odessa), is the operator of the largest terminal in the Odessa seaport and one of the leading players in the container market in the Black Sea region: the facility accounts for about 40% of container traffic in Ukraine [9]. With the support of the World Bank (WB), the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the EBRD, programs for the development of Ukrainian inland waterways and ports are being developed (a program for the development of the Dnieper River has been launched). Joint productions are being organized on the territory of Ukraine: the largest French engineering company Alstom and the Swiss railway concern Stadler are implementing large-scale projects together with the Ukrainian Railway with a production localization level of up to 35%.

In recent years, there has been a reconfiguration of the international presence in Ukraine and China is noticeably strengthening its influence, successfully competing with Western countries in the development of promising infrastructure projects. However, despite the fact that in 2021 China took the first place among Ukraine's foreign trade partners [10], the parties do not intend to convert the potential of trade and economic relations into increasing bilateral political interaction: despite the fact that relations between Ukraine and China are fixed at a high level of strategic partnership, the last exchange of state visits at the level of The meeting of the heads of state took place almost a decade ago, and today the countries are developing pragmatic situational cooperation, which is not a priority for any of the parties.

Against this background, the "enterprising" policy of the Republic of Turkey attracts attention: by creating an extensive network of cooperation on a global scale, the state is an active member of NATO and "plays a leading role in conflict resolution and mediation" [11]. Turkey is pursuing a flexible and effective policy in Ukraine, catching changes and diversifying its instruments. Currently, the Republic has not only entered the top trading partner countries of Ukraine [10], but there is also an unprecedented increase in Turkish political influence in the country. In this regard, the study of the participation of the Republic of Turkey, a member of the North Atlantic Alliance and a "very close" partner of the Russian Federation [12], which offers "assistance, mediation or support in any format" [13] in a changing external environment and the growth of global confrontational trends is of particular interest.

On the question of Turkey's role in Ukraine

In recent years, there has been a dynamic development of the Ukrainian-Turkish political, trade-economic, military-technical cooperation, the strategic partnership between the countries is being strengthened [14]. The current foreign policy strategy of Ukraine prescribes an institutional mechanism for the development of bilateral strategic partnership, which is implemented on the basis of regular political dialogue at the level of heads of state, in the format of a High-level Strategic Council between the countries and through the development of a new mechanism for consultations at the level of foreign ministers and defense ministers ("quadriga"). A set of primary goals and objectives of cooperation has also been defined the conclusion of a balanced and mutually beneficial Free Trade Agreement (scheduled for the tenth meeting of the High-level Strategic Council in February 2022), closer cooperation in the field of the military-industrial complex, continued attraction of investments from Turkey in the development of the economy of Ukraine [2], etc., which lays the foundations for multi-vector economic cooperation between the countries and is able to determine the priorities of Ukraine's foreign policy for decades to come.

In particular, according to the Turkish consulting agency, in 2019 there were about 600 Turkish companies in Ukraine, which are represented in various sectors of the economy, and some occupy leading positions (Turkish Turkcell is one of the three largest mobile operators in the country; Turkish Airlines in 2020 took first place in the number of flights in the Ukrainian sky and Turkish companies are the largest foreign contractors in Ukraine in terms of the volume of work performed). It is noteworthy that the agency calls on Turkish business to closely monitor the process of "radical privatization of almost 2,000 state-owned enterprises in Ukraine, including ports, electricity production and distribution companies, agricultural enterprises, mines and chemical plants" and notes the special attractiveness of Ukraine for Turkish companies due to the Free Trade Agreement and the presence of land borders with the EU [15]. Calls for Turkish investors to participate in major privatization projects in Ukraine were also voiced by the head of the State Property Fund of Ukraine [16].

Comprehensive relations between Kiev and Ankara have been progressing since 2014. The visit of the President of Ukraine V. Zelensky to Turkey and the signing of a military agreement between Kiev and Ankara on October 16, 2020 marked a new stage in bilateral relations. The ratification of the Agreement by the Verkhovna Rada on November 18, 2021 indicates the creation of a legal basis for the activation of military-technical cooperation between the countries, which meets Ankara's commercial interests, given Ukraine's status as a NATO partner with expanded capabilities [17]. It is noteworthy that in September 2021, a trilateral military-political alliance was formed consisting of the United States, Great Britain and Australia, one of the six NATO partners with expanded capabilities (along with Ukraine, Georgia, Jordan, Finland and Sweden), which indicates the reconfiguration of the global geostrategic situation. At the same time, it is premature to predict the formation of a new military alliance in the Black Sea region: the potential of Turkish foreign policy ambitions in the new world of "more than five" goes beyond bilateral partnerships and interactions. ("The world is more than five," is how Turkish President R. Erdogan described the new world order with an expanded UN Security Council (SC), including more than five permanent members of the Security Council, in which Turkey should take the place of one of the centers of power [18]).

Turkish "enterprising" foreign policy is consistent with the Ukrainian agenda of the United States: it is no coincidence that on January 3, 2022, US Secretary of State E. Blinken and Turkish Foreign Minister M. Cavusoglu discussed "the importance of continuing coordination regarding the threat of Russian escalation in Ukraine" and "opportunities for deepening cooperation, both bilateral and within NATO to address issues related to of mutual interest" [19]. Earlier, at the closing ceremony of the virtual Academy of International Security, the Turkish Foreign Minister, speaking about the dangerous level of rivalry between Russia and NATO, said: "We will not ignore our principles and close relations with Ukraine just because we have broad ties with Russia" [20]. Ankara reaffirmed its commitment to the principle of indivisibility of transatlantic security and the ability to balance sensitively between its own interests and the interests of the Alliance.

In the context of the growing confrontation between the Russian Federation and NATO and the Alliance's readiness to "respond harshly" to "Russian aggression" in Ukraine [21], at the same time, in an effort to establish "predictable" and "stable" relations with the Russian Federation in other areas of cooperation (as evidenced by E. Blinken's speech at a press conference on January 7, 2022 G.), the role of Turkey is of particular importance. Ankara actively contributes to Ukraine in strengthening defense and achieving the criteria for membership in the Alliance, projects are being developed in the military-technical sphere, including with the aim of increasing the operational and military-technical compatibility of the naval forces of Ukraine and NATO; agreements have been reached on deepening and intensifying cooperation between Ukrainian and Turkish military intelligence.

Ankara actively supports the Ukrainian Crimean agenda and promotes the internationalization of the Crimean Platform, advocates for strengthening Ukraine's cooperation with the Organization of Turkic States, at the same time supports the implementation of the Minsk agreements and is committed to the principle voiced at the press conference of the US Secretary of State "to have predictable and stable relations with Russia in order to ... cooperate when it meets common interests, and resolve differences through an open and frank dialogue" [21]. The effective combination of Ukrainian and Russian vectors in Turkish foreign policy is evidence of the political foresight, flexibility and pragmatism of Turkish foreign policy practice.

On the eve of the Strategic Stability Dialogue between the United States and Russia and the meeting of the NATO-Russia Council and the OSCE Permanent Council (January 10-13, 2022), Ankara has actively joined the global geopolitical agenda: Turkish Defense Minister H. Akar called on Russia and the West to avoid any provocative actions that could lead to an escalation of tension in the Black Sea region [22]. Later, Turkish President R. Erdogan (in a conversation with British Prime Minister B. Johnson) expressed concern about the "buildup of Russian troops on the border with Ukraine" and confirmed his readiness to work within NATO to de-escalate the situation [23], and during a visit to Albania (January 2022), he once again urged He called for a political solution to the Ukrainian issue and stated that the situation requires discussion with the President of the Russian Federation [24].

The intensification of Ankara's diplomatic efforts in regulating the Ukrainian case fits perfectly into the Turkish ideology of the "hub" [25] and brings it to a new trans-regional level: the country demonstrates its readiness to join the "concert of great powers" and participate in key world political processes as a mediator, forming a space of stability for the realization of a common political will. In this context, comprehensive communication with all interested parties and the search for compromise solutions with dominant international actors are of great importance, and relations with Russia are coming to the forefront.

Ukraine-Turkey-Russia and opportunities to strengthen the international positions of the Russian Federation

Today, exactly thirty years after the signing of the Treaty on the Foundations of Relations between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Turkey (1992) [26], the countries confirm their intention to intensify partnership; promising political, economic, trade, military-defense projects are dynamically developing [27]. At the meeting of Presidents V. Putin and R. Erdogan in Sochi (September 2021), the parties noted the positive development of bilateral relations: the restoration and growth of trade turnover in the conditions of a pandemic, the growth of investments on both sides, the ability to find compromise mutually beneficial political solutions, effective cooperation in the field of energy, on the Turkish Stream and the Akkuyu nuclear power plant", successful cooperation in the international arena (in Syria, Libya, the operation of the Russian-Turkish center for monitoring the ceasefire on the border between Azerbaijan and Armenia, etc.). The Turkish President separately noted joint steps in the field of military cooperation, "which have already been implemented, completed, and there is no way back," and stressed, that peace in the Middle East largely depends on Russian-Turkish relations [28].

The Ukrainian agenda and the issue of Crimea are de facto removed from the framework of the Russian-Turkish negotiation process, however, at the meeting of Presidents V. Putin and R. Erdogan in the Kremlin with representatives of Russian and Turkish business circles in 2019, the President of the Russian Federation noted the growing interest of Turkish business in Russian regions and noted that there is "potential for the development of cooperation with the Republic Crimea". ("Vacant niches there are quickly being filled, including by foreign investors," Putin said [29]). This remark from the mouth of the president at a meeting with representatives of Turkish business is a significant fact, given that the Crimean issue is the cornerstone of Turkey's foreign policy agenda, and R. Erdogan notes the special importance of Crimea in the history of Turkey, emphasizing that Ankara will never recognize Crimea's entry into the Russian Federation. At the same time, the Turkish president distances himself from open criticism of Moscow's actions and support for anti-Russian sanctions.

In this context, the question arises about the role of Turkey and the possibilities of Turkish mediation in Russia's relations not only with Ukraine, but also with the West as a whole, in conditions when these relations have reached a historical minimum, and Ankara declares opportunities to expand its influence in the new world order and continues to participate in the processes of formation of national identity and ethnic culture of the Crimean Tatars, using a complex of political, economic, humanitarian and cultural instruments within the framework of an "enterprising" foreign policy.

Despite the difficulties of the Turkish European integration process and the history of Turkey's turbulent relations with Euro-Atlantic partners, Ankara confirms its support for Ukrainian reforms and the process of integration with European and transatlantic structures, including the EU and NATO [30], while "respecting the policy of the Ukrainian authorities aimed at preserving the non-aligned status of the country" [31]. At the same time, official Ankara emphasizes that relations between Russia and NATO are of great importance for the Euro-Atlantic region and beyond in a complex and rapidly changing environment [31]. Thus, the "soft" balance that Ankara creates in relations with partners is expressed not only in foreign policy rhetoric, but also in Turkish foreign policy practice: Ankara does not cross the "red lines" in relations with dominant actors neither with Moscow, nor with Washington and Brussels, limiting itself to provocative rhetoric in the bilateral (Turkish-Ukrainian) agenda.

Considering that "Turkey's membership in NATO is an integral part of its global identity" [31], the issue of Turkish mediation in the Ukrainian case in particular and in Russia's relations with the Alliance as a whole, on the one hand, seems to be a Turkish image project aimed at increasing Ankara's political subjectivity in world politics and expanding the zones of Turkish influence. On the other hand, the high level of negotiability, which was confirmed by the leaders of Russia and Turkey on key issues on the international agenda (Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, NagornoKarabakh, the Turkish Stream IHL, etc.) proved the effectiveness of the Russian-Turkish partnership in de-escalation and stabilization of regional conflicts, which creates prerequisites for strengthening Russia's foreign policy positions in the countries of the Russian The "neighborhood belt" and beyond is a fundamental factor in the future development of the Eurasian economic integration under the auspices of the Russian Federation.

Russian diplomacy has proved its effectiveness in solving acute international crises and has created prerequisites for the formation of new integration processes in the region, including the growth of the attractiveness of the Eurasian economic integration project based on the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). Turkey, in turn, is implementing the creation of a "common Turkic integration model", and the Organization of Turkic States (OTG) is currently one of the key projects of the Turkish Republic in the post-Soviet space [32]. The search for compromise political solutions in order to combine the interests of the EAEU and the Turkish-centric OTG and the creation of a common security zone and a single political and economic space seems to be an urgent task of the Russian-Turkish partnership, which meets the interests of the participating countries, given Turkey's membership in NATO, and Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan in the CSTO. It is significant that on January 11, 2022, during an extraordinary videoconference convened at the initiative of the Turkish Foreign Minister, the Council of Foreign Ministers of the OTG supported the legitimacy of the peacekeeping operation of the CSTO forces in Kazakhstan [33], which confirmed the effectiveness of the Organization as a working security mechanism, and also created prerequisites for strengthening the foreign policy influence of the Russian Federation and the formation of new formats. cooperation in the region.

In this regard, Turkish-Ukrainian cooperation within the framework of the internationalization of the Crimean agenda draws attention: Ankara welcomes Ukraine's intention to join the Organization of Islamic Cooperation as an observer state and supports Ukrainian interest in cooperation with the OTG [34]. The Ambassador of Ukraine to Turkey A.I. Sibiga at a meeting with the Secretary General of OTG B.K. Amreev in Istanbul expressed Ukraine's interest in creating mechanisms of cooperation with OTG and affiliated organizations. During the meeting, the parties confirmed the huge potential of bilateral cooperation and agreed to intensify cooperation in the coming period [35]. Thus, the possibilities of combining Russian-Turkish interests through the EAEU-OTG and achieving mutually beneficial compromise solutions can also contribute to the creation of new platforms and formats for de-escalation of the Crimean agenda.

Conclusion

In general, Ukraine's Euro-Atlantic choice has been determined and in the long term has acquired a pronounced anti-Russian orientation: the "Ukrainian sequel" has turned into the prologue of a new "cold war" between Russia and the West [36], and today Ukraine is not only a zone of growing international presence, but is also involved in a policy of open containment of Russia and modeling of Russian-American relations. In this context, the de-escalation of alarmist sentiments, the cessation of the process of militarization and confrontation near the borders of Russia and the formation of a clear legal framework for relations between the Russian Federation and EuroAtlantic partners in the Black Sea region are priorities of Russian foreign policy.

Despite Ankara's growing military-technical cooperation with Kiev and the existence of fundamental differences in the Russian-Turkish agenda, Turkey is not interested in escalating relations with Russia, which contribute to the growth of the Republic's political subjectivity, which would create risks of Turkey's direct involvement in conflict relations between NATO and the Russian Federation and would deprive it of the opportunity to become an "independent center" political influence in the Black Sea region. Turkish mediation in Ukrainian regulation (both in bilateral and multilateral formats), given the high level of contractual capacity of Moscow and Ankara and the possibility of achieving effective political solutions, can soften the foreign policy discourse on Ukrainian issues and avoid mutually exclusive positions of the parties involved and dominant actors (USA, Russia, EU).

The internationalization of the Ukrainian agenda and the maximum involvement of non-regional players in the processes of trade and economic cooperation in the Black Sea region can neutralize the escalation of the military-political situation in Ukraine and strengthen the foreign policy positions of both Russia and Turkey. The intensification of international economic and military-technical cooperation in the region (and in Ukraine, in particular) and the assertion of the priority of economic interests over political rhetoric may contribute to the rejection of the bloc approach in determining foreign policy goals by interested actors of world politics.

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The article is devoted to the study of the foreign policy orientations of modern Ukraine, as well as foreign participation in the processes of Ukrainian Westernization, which cannot but generate conflicts with Russia as a key player in the region. The relevance of the topic studied in the article cannot be overestimated, given the series of crises in Russian-Ukrainian relations over the past two decades, and especially the crisis we are witnessing right now: an increasing number of participants are involved in the problems of relations between Ukraine and Russia, including European countries, the United States, China, Turkey, etc. In journalism, comparisons of Ukraine with the Balkans have already appeared on the possible consequences of crisis trends. And the media is actively discussing the topic of a new world war, which could allegedly be a consequence of this crisis. Science, of course, assesses the situation much more soberly, and one of the undoubted advantages of the reviewed article is the author's desire to assess the interests of regional and global players involved in the process as objectively as possible, and the consequences of the conflict of these interests. Although the author does not always manage to maintain this impartiality and objectivity. So, the use of some terms could probably be avoided. For example, the use of the term "aggression of the Russian Federation" against Ukraine needs special proof. It is clear from the context that we are talking about the goals of Ukrainian foreign policy, as they are formulated in the National Security Strategy of Ukraine, but then such expressions should be enclosed in quotation marks, which would allow the author to distance himself from the value judgments contained in those documents that he analyzes (especially since the expression "Russian aggression" is below the text" already enclosed in quotation marks everywhere). However, with the exception of a few such annoying nuances, the overall tone of the article is completely neutral and impartial. The methodology used in the work is quite traditional for this kind of research. The author analyzes the distribution of forces and interests in the region, turns to the study of official documents and statements of the authorities of the countries involved in the process, as well as statistical data. The institutional method is also used in the study of specific aspects of relations between states, as well as their alliances (for example, NATO). However, the author does not specifically specify or justify the methods that he used, which by no means adorns the scientific work. The advantages of the article include its structural logic and consistency in solving the tasks set. The following sections are highlighted in the text: "Ukraine is a zone of active international presence", "On the role of Turkey in Ukraine", "UkraineTurkey-Russia and the possibility of strengthening the international positions of the Russian Federation", "Conclusion". The first section problematizes Ukraine's foreign policy priorities, and also gives a description of the countries (USA, Great Britain, China, etc.) and alliances (NATO, EU, etc.) that influence these priorities. The special role of the Turkish Republic, whose political and economic role has increased dramatically in recent years, is specifically stipulated. Accordingly, the following two sections are devoted to the analysis of this role: the author has chosen a successful term characterizing Turkey's foreign policy towards Ukraine as "enterprising". One of the most important conclusions, which gives the article unconditional signs of scientific novelty, is precisely related to Turkey's activation in resolving the Russian-Ukrainian "conflict" as a mediator, which, according to the author, brings Turkey to a new trans-regional level as a mediator in the "concert of great powers". But the flip side of this process is the strengthening of Russia's foreign policy positions, since Turkey is not interested in escalating relations with the Russian Federation, even though it is actively playing the "Crimean card" in relations with Ukraine. Accordingly, the author quite highly appreciates the potential of Turkish mediation in the contradictions that currently exist between Ukraine and Russia, as well as between other countries involved in the process. In general, as mentioned above, despite the "hot" and politicized nature of the topic studied in the article, the author managed to preserve the scientific style, intonation and objectivity. The work would have benefited somewhat if the author had paid more attention to the theoretical and methodological justification of his research, as well as carefully approached the use of certain terms, however, these shortcomings do not affect the overall positive impression of a well-done scientific work. The bibliographic list includes 36 titles, including sources in foreign languages, is designed in accordance with the requirements of the journal "World Politics", and sufficiently represents the state of research on the problem considered in the article. There is no appeal to opponents, but it is not mandatory in this kind of research. The conducted research is of scientific interest to specialists in the field of world politics and international relations, studies of post-Soviet countries, international and regional security, political scientists, sociologists and practicing politicians. For educational purposes, the work may be of interest to students of the listed specialties. General conclusion: the article submitted for review corresponds to the topic of the journal "World Politics" and is recommended for publication after minor adjustments.
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