Russia open to talks on Ukraine grain deal, says Putintext_fields
Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed his willingness to engage in discussions regarding the Ukraine grain export deal during a meeting with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi.
This deal, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey in 2022, aimed to facilitate the transportation of Ukrainian grain to global markets through the Black Sea, addressing a global food crisis. However, Russia withdrew from the agreement in July 2023, citing obstacles to its own food and fertiliser exports and insufficient grain shipments from Ukraine to needy nations.
The talks come amidst the ongoing Ukraine crisis, with Russia open to negotiations on the grain deal if certain conditions are met. The grain deal holds significance for global food security, as both Russia and Ukraine are major agricultural producers, influencing markets for wheat, barley, maize, and various oils.
The possibility of returning to the grain deal is contingent on the West fulfilling a separate memorandum agreed upon with the United Nations. This memorandum is aimed at facilitating Russian food and fertiliser exports, which have faced logistical and financial challenges due to Western sanctions. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has presented concrete proposals to Russia for reviving the deal.
One of the major demands set forth by Moscow is that the Russian Agricultural Bank be reconnected to the SWIFT international payments system. The EU terminated this connection in June 2022 as part of the sanctions imposed on Russia.
Russian-Ukrainian tensions continue to escalate, with Russia blockading Ukrainian Black Sea ports and launching air attacks on grain exporting facilities. Despite challenges, Turkey remains a key broker in facilitating discussions between Russia and Ukraine.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan met Putin on Monday to talk about the deal. "We are cautious, but we hope to achieve success," said Erdogan's chief foreign policy and security advisor Akif Cagatay Kilic to A Haber television channel.
Russia has blockaded Ukrainian Black Sea ports and threatened to treat all ships as potential military targets. The route allowed Ukraine to export tens of millions of metric tons of food.