Russian President Vladimir Putin has informed Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, that Moscow is prepared to resume participation in the Black Sea grain agreement as soon as the West fulfills its commitments with regard to Russia’s own grain exports.
The Kremlin released the following statement in response to Putin’s conversation with Erdogan: “It was noted that given the complete lack of progress in the implementation of the Russian portion 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.
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.
Western sanctions imposed on Moscow over its military operations in Ukraine do not apply to Russia’s shipments of grains and fertilisers. Moscow, however, asserted that limitations on payments, logistics, and insurance had prevented supplies.
The U.S. representative to the UN stated that there were “indications” that Russia may be open to continuing the negotiations.
The agreement, reached in July 2022 between Turkey and the United Nations, provided for the secure transport of grain from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. Moscow pulled out of the agreement last month, accusing the West of impeding Russian food and fertilizer exports.
The agreement was intended to help a worldwide food crisis, and grain prices have soared since Moscow allowed it to expire on July 17. Ukraine and Russia are the two largest grain exporters.
While the Black Sea pact was in effect, about 33 million tonnes of Ukrainian grain were exported.