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Erdoğan-Putin Talks Fail To Yield Breakthrough On Black Sea Grain Issue


Erdoğan-Putin talks fail to yield breakthrough on Black Sea grain issue as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wrapped up in-person discussions with Vladimir Putin. During the meeting, he suggested the possibility of resurrecting a deal to export Ukrainian grain via the Black Sea. However, there is no concrete evidence of a breakthrough, as the Russian leader once again accused the West of failing to uphold their commitments.

Putin asserted that there has been no crisis in global grain markets since Moscow withdrew from the agreement two months ago, citing the West's alleged failure to fulfill their obligations regarding Russian food and fertilizer exports. He maintained that grain prices were decreasing, and there was no indication of food shortages.

Putin's position implies that he believes Russia has benefited from exiting the grain deal and subsequently targeting Ukrainian ports that were previously used for Ukrainian grain exports. He expressed a willingness to consider reviving the agreement only when all Russian demands are met.

The recent meeting in Sochi, Russia, marked the first face-to-face encounter between Erdogan, the primary negotiator behind the initial agreement, and Putin since the deal's collapse. The meeting took place against the backdrop of yet another Russian drone strike on a Ukrainian grain-exporting port, causing significant damage to warehouses and setting buildings ablaze. Despite Ukrainian claims that Russian drones fell and detonated on Romanian territory during the attack, Romania, a NATO member, denied these allegations.

Since Moscow's withdrawal from the deal, Russian drones have been systematically targeting Ukrainian grain storage facilities. The most recent attack targeted the Danube River port of Izmail in Ukraine's southern Odesa region, resulting in damage to warehouses and production facilities. Ukraine estimates that over 220,000 tonnes of Ukrainian grain have been destroyed in these Russian assaults.

COPYRIGHT_BP: Published on https://bingepost.com/erdogan-putin-talks-fail-to-yield-breakthrough-on-black-sea-grain-issue/ by Cecilia Jones on 2023-09-04T20:42:31.735Z

Erdoğan, who previously played a pivotal role in persuading Putin to adhere to the agreement, is now working alongside the United Nations to convince Putin to reconsider it. In Sochi, Erdoğan expressed optimism about reaching a solution that meets expectations in a short time.

He also suggested that Ukraine should adopt a more flexible stance in its negotiations with Russia regarding the grain deal. In the event that broader peace talks commence, Erdoğan is likely to play a prominent role as a mediator.

Putin has indicated that Russia might consider rejoining the grain deal if Western nations sign a memorandum aimed at streamlining Russian food and fertilizer exports. During his remarks in Sochi, he stated, "We will do this as soon as all the agreements on lifting restrictions on the export of Russian agricultural products are fully implemented."

The Western nations contend that they have already provided comprehensive guidelines to emphasize the broad exemptions within their sanctions concerning Russia's food exports. They have previously attempted to assure Putin that Russian grain and fertilizer exports are not subject to Western sanctions.

A damaged grain depot at a port terminal after a Russian drone attack on the Danube River in the Odesa region of Ukraine
A damaged grain depot at a port terminal after a Russian drone attack on the Danube River in the Odesa region of Ukraine

According to Western claims, Russia managed to export 56 million tonnes of grain products through the Black Sea grain deal, generating $41 billion in revenue. However, Moscow argues that practical hindrances, including restrictions on payments, logistics, and insurance, have impeded these shipments, leaving Western commitments unfulfilled.

Additionally, Moscow is pushing for the reconnection of the Russian Agricultural Bank to the Swift international payments system. The Western nations cut ties with the bank in June 2022 as part of sanctions imposed in response to the invasion, although these restrictions do not apply to new debt or equity transactions.

Furthermore, the Kremlin is eager to restart a crucial ammonia pipeline that runs to Pivdennyi in the Odesa region. US and European officials are increasingly open to this possibility, provided that Kyiv grants approval, recognizing the significance of ammonia as a vital fertilizer ingredient.

The disagreements, involving intricate details, have evolved into a significant propaganda battleground as Russia and the Western countries vie to persuade both less affluent nations and the influential BRICS nations that their adversary is responsible for the resulting inflation and grain shortages.

As an incentive, Russia has proposed providing up to 1 million tonnes of Russian grain to Turkey at reduced prices, with the intention of processing it at Turkish facilities and subsequently shipping it to countries in dire need. Turkey is grappling with a 60% inflation rate, exacerbated by soaring food prices.

Before the suspension, this agreement facilitated the export of nearly 33 million tonnes of grain to global markets from Ukraine, with well over half of that grain and two-thirds of the wheat reaching developing nations. The United States contends that approximately 20 million tonnes of this grain went to developing countries. Russia's contribution to addressing global food scarcity remains in question, given that it ranks only 34th in terms of contributions to the UN World Food Programme, despite expecting a record harvest.

The essence of the deal revolved around enabling commercial exports of food and fertilizers, including ammonia, from three vital Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea: Odesa, Chornomorsk, and Pivdennyi (formerly known as Yuzhny).

A Joint Coordination Centre (JCC) was established to oversee the execution of this initiative, with Istanbul serving as its host city. The JCC consists of representatives from Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, and the United Nations, with the UN acting as the secretariat.

To navigate cargo ships safely through the Black Sea, avoiding mined areas, Ukrainian vessels provided guidance into international waters. Subsequently, the vessels followed a designated maritime humanitarian corridor leading to Istanbul. Inspections of ships traveling to and from Ukrainian ports were conducted by JCC teams, which included inspectors from Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, and the UN. At its peak in October, the daily average for these inspections reached 10.6.


Since the collapse of the agreement, Ukraine has managed to dispatch three commercial shipments of grain from the Black Sea without obtaining Russian approval, utilizing new humanitarian routes. Moscow has issued threats to attack these ships but has not yet taken any action. Using land routes through Poland for grain exports is a more expensive, less grain-efficient, and time-consuming alternative.

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Cecilia Jones

Cecilia Jones - Cecilia Jones loves to write about movies, music, and the most popular and exciting news.

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