Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called President Volodymyr Zelensky on Dec. 11, shortly after speaking with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Zelensky said that he discussed "possible expansion of the grain corridor" with Erdogan. Zelensky didn't provide details.
Ukraine, Russia, and Turkey signed the U.N.-backed Black Sea Grain Initiative in July to unblock Ukrainian grain exports amid Russia’s war. Over 300 vessels left Ukrainian Black Sea ports with over 6.9 million metric tons of grain for Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Europe. In November, the agreement was extended for four more months.
Zelensky also thanked Erdogan for "giving shelter" to Ukrainian children, as well as providing Ukraine with hundreds of generators as the country struggles under Russia's attacks on energy system.
Earlier on Dec. 11, Erdogan discussed the Black Sea Grain Initiative with Putin. After the call, the Kremlin said that Putin talked about some “obstacles” to food exports from Russia, which have to be “eliminated.”
Earlier in October, Russia threatened to withdraw from the grain deal unless the UN helped "allowing the exports of Russian grains and fertilizers.” Despite the U.S. and Europe saying they did not sanction Russian grain and fertilizer exports due to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, Russia claims that the exports are restricted due to Western sanctions.
Russia also asked the West to ease sanctions on state agriculture lender Rosselkhozbank to facilitate Russian grain exports, according to Reuters.