Turkey, which has interests in both Ukraine and Russia, has been playing a mediating role in the crisis so far. While Ankara is involved with Moscow in several global conflicts, it also sells weapons to Ukraine.

Western powers still fear a Russian invasion is possible given the build-up of more than 100,000 soldiers at the Ukraine border, but Moscow denies having plans to attack.

It has instead blamed the United States and the Washington-led NATO alliance for undermining the region’s security and demanded sweeping guarantees from the West.

The US has dismissed Moscow’s main proposals – that NATO cease activity in Eastern Europe and never allow ex-Soviet state Ukraine to become a member – as non-starters.

And further angering the Kremlin on Wednesday, Washington announced it will deploy troops to Eastern Europe to “deter and defend against any aggression”.

The European Union is working on a joint response to the letter which many of its member states received from Russia earlier this week asking for security guarantees, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says.

“We are working on the coordination of the response… We are united in the European Union and therefore it is clear that the response will mirror, will reflect that unity,” she told reporters on a visit in Helsinki.

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