Kremlin says Putin, Turkey’s Erdogan expected to meet soon

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Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to hold talks in person with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan soon, the Kremlin said on Friday, as Ankara attempts to persuade Moscow to return to the Black Sea grain deal.

The deal, brokered by Turkey and the United Nations in July 2022 to help alleviate a global food crisis, allowed grain shipments from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports.

However, Moscow quit the deal last month, complaining that an accompanying agreement to facilitate Russia’s own grain and fertilizer exports was not being implemented.

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Asked about Erdogan’s invitation to Putin to visit Turkey to discuss the deal and other pressing issues, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “There is an understanding that this meeting will take place soon.”

“We usually synchronize announcements of such visits with our partner countries. We will announce shortly when and where it will take place. The meeting is being prepared, and is being prepared very thoroughly,” he said.

Earlier, Russia’s state RIA news agency reported that Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan would visit Russia, but it gave no details.

Putin told Erdogan in a phone call on August 2 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.

Russia’s grain and fertilizer 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.

Global grain prices have risen since Moscow let the deal expire on July 17, while Russia has repeatedly attacked Ukrainian ports and grain storage facilities.

Ukraine and Russia are both leading grain exporters.

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

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