ISTANBUL: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday he was ready to meet his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Moscow in a bid to ease soaring tensions over Ukraine.

The Kremlin has been cool to Erdogan's past attempts at mediation because of Turkey's supply of combat drones to Kyiv.

Turkey has previously proposed hosting talks between Russian and Ukrainian officials in Istanbul under a peace format overseen by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).

Erdogan is expected to travel to Kyiv for talks with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in early February.

“I have an upcoming visit to Ukraine,“ Erdogan told reporters after Friday prayers.

“In the meantime, there could be a telephone call with Mr Putin or I could visit Moscow,“ he added without going into details.

NATO member Turkey backs Ukraine's ambition to join the Western defence alliance.

It never recognised Russia's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimea peninsula and has signed several important defence contracts with Kyiv.

But Erdogan also has a close working relationship with Putin despite disagreeing with the Russian leader on multiple fronts.

He said on Thursday that he had “warm ties with both Ukraine and Russia” and would try everything possible to avert a war from breaking out.

“We want peace to prevail in our region, and for this we are ready to do anything,“ he reaffirmed Friday. - AFP