Putin reaffirms Russian stance on grain deal in call to Erdogan

MOSCOW (Reuters) -Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday that Moscow was ready to return to the Black Sea grain deal as soon as the West met its obligations with regard to Russia’s own grain exports.

The deal, brokered by Turkey and the United Nations in July 2022, allowed for the safe export of grain from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. Last month Moscow exited the deal, accusing the West of hampering Russia’s own grain and fertiliser exports.

In a statement on Putin’s call with Erdogan, the Kremlin said: “It was noted that in the conditions of a complete lack of progress in the implementation of the Russian part of the ‘grain deal’, its further extension has lost all meaning.”

It added that Russia would return to the deal “as soon as the West actually fulfils all the obligations to Russia” contained within it.

Russia’s grain and fertiliser exports are not subject to Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over its military actions in Ukraine. But Moscow has said restrictions on payments, logistics and insurance have been a barrier to shipments.

The U.S. envoy to the United Nations said on Tuesday there were “indications” that Russia might be interested in returning to talks about the deal. Asked about those comments on Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stressed the need for the West to honour parts of the deal concerning Russian exports.


Erdogan’s office said the Turkish leader had emphasised the importance of avoiding steps that could jeopardise the resumption of the Black Sea grain deal, which he described as a “bridge of peace”.

The two leaders also agreed that Putin would visit Turkey, it said. A senior Turkish official said that discussions between Ankara and Moscow were ongoing for a visit in late August.

Earlier on Wednesday, Russia attacked Ukraine’s main inland port on the Danube River, sending global food prices higher as Moscow ramps up its use of force to reimpose a blockade of Ukrainian grain exports.

The port, across the river from NATO-member Romania, has served as the main alternative route out of Ukraine for grain exports since Russia reintroduced its de facto blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports in mid-July.

The deal aimed to alleviate a global food crisis, and grain prices have risen since Moscow let it expire on July 17. Ukraine and Russia are both leading grain exporters.

Nearly 33 million tonnes of Ukrainian grain was exported while the Black Sea deal was in operation.

(Reporting by ReutersWriting by Gareth Jones; Editing by Mark Trevelyan and Nick Macfie)

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