KIEV, Ukraine — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said, during a visit to Ukraine, that Turkey won’t recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

Erdogan said during Monday’s visit to Kiev that Turkey will continue to support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Russia and Ukraine have been in a tug-of-war following Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and support for separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine.

Erdogan said that Ankara will continue to follow the situation of Crimean Tatars, and thanked Ukraine for defending their rights.

Some Crimean Tatar activists have complained of infringements on the rights of the Turkic ethnic group after Russia’s annexation of the Black Sea region.

Erdogan’s statement comes even though he has sought to maintain warm ties with Russia and cooperated with it on establishing de-escalation zones in Syria.

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