WASHINGTON — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said following a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday that a resolution to the suspended Black Sea Grain Initiative can be reached “in a short time.”
The deal — which was brokered between Turkey, the United Nations, Ukraine and Russia in July 2022 — helped ease the Kremlin’s naval blockade in the Black Sea and established a humanitarian corridor for agricultural exports.
“We believe that we will reach a solution that will meet the expectations in a short time,” Erdogan said during a press briefing in Sochi, a resort town on the Black Sea, according to a Reuters report.
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“Ukraine needs to especially soften its approaches in order for it to be possible for joint steps to be taken with Russia,” the Turkish president added.
Putin said that he was ready to “consider the possibility of reviving the grain deal” provided that Russian agricultural products are “fully implemented” in the new agreement. The Russian leader also placed the blame on Western governments for stoking a global food security crisis following Moscow’s exit from the Black Sea grain deal.
“There is no physical shortage of food,” Putin told reporters following the bilateral meeting with Erdogan. The Russian leader added that food prices did not rise after Moscow axed the agreement.
Under the Black Sea Grain Initiative, more than 1,000 ships carrying nearly 33 million metric tons of Ukrainian wheat, barley, corn and sunflower meal departed from three ports on the Black Sea for global destinations.
The agreement also facilitated the transport of 725,167 tons of wheat on World Food Program ships to some of the most food-insecure countries on earth, including Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
Russia left the agriculture deal nearly one year after all parties met in Istanbul to sign the agreement. The Kremlin has previously said that only Ukraine benefited from the pact.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) talks to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) during their meeting on September 4, 2023 in Sochi, Russia.
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Following the collapse of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Russian forces rained missiles on Ukrainian ports and agricultural facilities and sent wheat prices on a three-day spike.
What’s more, last week America’s top spy agency said Russia’s full-scale invasion in Ukraine has disrupted global food security and triggered not only higher prices but also political instability in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries.
Read more: US intelligence agency: Food insecurity from Russia’s war in Ukraine triggered instability in other countries
The unclassified 8-page report from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which oversees the nation’s 18 intelligence agencies, also said Russian forces stole approximately 6 million tons of Ukrainian wheat, likely for export.
The Kremlin has previously denied that its troops in Ukraine targeted civilian infrastructure and engaged in looting.