Putin and Erdogan to discuss grain deal in Sochi
Russian president Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan are meeting in Sochi on Monday to discuss a possible resumption of the agreement on Ukrainian grain exports.
The agreement provided safe corridors on the Black Sea through which Ukrainian grain could be exported to the rest of the world during the war. In July, Russia refused to renew the agreement. Moscow complained that Western sanctions were hampering its grain and fertiliser exports.
Erdogan wants to revive the deal and ensure Russia lets the ships through again. He insists this is necessary for global food supplies and security in the Black Sea region. Putin, however, has strong conditions, including wanting Western sanctions against his country to be eased.
Ukraine is a major grain supplier to the world market, and exports are essential for the country's income. From the summer of 2022 until the suspension of the international agreement, Kyiv exported around 33 million tonnes of grain and other agricultural products by sea.
The talks in Sochi are due to start around midday on Monday. It will be the first time Erdogan and Putin have met since the Turkish president's re-election in May.
Turkey is a member of NATO but does not apply Western sanctions. Erdogan has become known as a mediator in the war between Ukraine and Russia.
© PHOTO MURAT MKULA / TURKISH PRESIDENTIAL PRESS SERVICE / AFP