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Erdogan Discusses Expanding Scope of Black Sea Grain Deal with Putin & Zelenskiy

Moscow wants better guarantees for its own food and fertiliser exports, while Kiev wants to expand the agreement to include more Ukrainian ports.

Shivam Dwivedi
Ukraine and Russia are both major grain producers and exporters in the world
Ukraine and Russia are both major grain producers and exporters in the world

On Sunday, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan met with the leaders of Russia and Ukraine to discuss the Black Sea grain export agreement, as both sides seek changes that will increase their exports.

Turkey and the UN acted as a mediator in the grain deal, which opened Ukrainian ports to exports after a six-month de facto Russian blockade. Moscow wants better guarantees for its own food and fertilizer exports, while Kiev wants the agreement expanded to include more Ukrainian ports.

Following his call with Putin, Erdogan called for an end to the conflict and said Moscow could begin working on exporting more food and commodities through the Black Sea grain corridor. Russia has urged the UN to press the West to lift some sanctions for Moscow to export fertilizer and agricultural products freely - a Black Sea grain deal requirement, which Moscow claims has not been implemented.

"The agreement is complex in nature, requiring the removal of obstacles for relevant Russian supplies to meet the demands of the countries most in need," the Kremlin said in a statement. On Twitter, Zelenskiy stated that he and Erdogan "discussed further work & possible expansion of the grain corridor."

Ukraine and Russia are both major grain producers and exporters in the world. Russia's blockade of Ukrainian ports following its invasion earlier this year threatened to cause a global food crisis, which was mitigated by a deal brokered by Turkey that unblocked Ukrainian shipments at the end of July. According to the Kremlin, Erdogan and Putin also discussed a Russian proposal to establish a base in Turkey for Russian natural gas exports.

Putin proposed the idea in October as a way to reroute supplies from Russia's Nord Stream pipelines to Europe, which were damaged in September explosions. Erdogan has expressed his support for the idea. "The special significance of joint energy projects, particularly in the gas industry," the Kremlin said. Last week, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller met with Erdogan in Istanbul.

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