Moscow remains open to peace talks with Ukraine, not aiming to destroy Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin says.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin has thanked his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan for Ankara's peace efforts in Ukraine.
Erdogan played "a significant role" in organising an exchange of prisoners between Moscow and Kiev and in the signing of the Ukraine grain deal, Putin said on Friday, speaking at a news conference in the Kazakh capital Astana, where the two leaders held a meeting on Thursday.
Erdogan played "a significant role in a number of issues, including exchanges (of war prisoners)," he said, adding that the Turkish president was "personally involved in these issues, for which we are grateful."
"He was an active participant in reaching a deal on the export of grain (from Ukraine). This grain goes to the poorest countries or goes in a minimum amount. We discussed this during negotiations yesterday. He said it is necessary to structure flows so that they go to the poorest countries," said Putin.
He also expressed Moscow's appreciation for Ankara's peace mediation amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict, adding that the UAE also offered its help and worked to reconcile the two warring countries.
Putin underlined that Russia remains open to peace talks with Ukraine, pointing to negotiations held in Istanbul earlier this year, when he said the two countries came close to finding a compromise.
He added that Russia was not aiming to destroy Ukraine and that its "special military operation" was launched to deal with military challenges.
"What is happening today is unpleasant, to put it mildly, but we would have received all the same in worse conditions later. So, we're doing everything right," he stressed.
Russia, CIS ties
Putin announced that the partial military mobilisation he announced on Sept. 21 would be complete within two weeks and that it would not be followed by any additional mobilisation measures.
Over 220,000 people have already reported for their military service under the mobilisation, said the Russian president, adding that additional forces were necessary to strengthen the front, over 1,000 kilometres (about 620 miles) long.
On people leaving Russia to avoid being drafted, Putin said each case needed to be assessed separately, without stigmatising everybody.
He admitted that leaders of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) members were worried about the war in Ukraine, but said that ties between Russia and Central Asian countries were not affected "in any way."
"The situation in Ukraine is a matter of discussion, but it does not affect the nature, quality, or depth of relations with Central Asian countries in any way," he stressed.
Putin also noted that there were other confrontations between post-Soviet countries, including those between Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.
He said he discussed the border disputes between Bishkek and Dushanbe at a meeting with the leaders of those countries on the sidelines of the CIS summit he attended on Friday in Astana.
Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan asked for mediation over tensions, he said, adding that he suggested they draft proposals for a potential resolution between them.