Turkey denounces 'violation' of Ukraine by separatists
Turkey has rejected the creation of a new state in Ukraine by pro-Russian separatists as a "violation" of the country's integrity.
A Foreign Ministry spokesman on Thursday criticized the declaration earlier this week by Alexander Zakharchenko, leader of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic, of a new entity called 'Malorossiya' (Little Russia).
Zakharchenko said it would be a "successor" state to Ukraine. Zakharchenko also said the new state will have as its 'capital' Donetsk. Kiev -- Ukraine's current capital-would, for the rebels, remain as a historical and cultural center without the status of a capital city.
In a statement, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hüseyin Müftüoğlu said: "We consider the statements of separatist groups in eastern Ukraine on the establishment of a new state as a violation of Ukraine's territorial integrity."
"It is clear that such declarations and acts hinder solution efforts."
Müftüoğlu said Turkey would continue to support all peaceful initiatives, primarily the Minsk process, to find a solution to the situation in eastern Ukraine within the framework of its territorial integrity and sovereignty and under international law.
"We think it is important that all relevant parties act likewise," he said.
Ukraine has been wracked by conflict in its eastern regions since March 2014 after Russia's annexation of Crimea. The fighting with separatists in the Donbass area has led to more than 10,000 deaths, according to the UN.