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Erdogan, Putin hold a phone call, discuss 'grain deal'

by The Kyiv Independent news desk December 11, 2022 4:22 PM 2 min read
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Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke on the phone with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Dec. 11, according to Ergodan’s Office.

In a phone call, the two again discussed Putin’s proposal to create a natural gas hub in Turkey. Neither the Kremlin nor Ergodan’s Office provided details about the matter.

The two leaders also discussed the Black Sea Grain Initiative, the U.N.-backed deal that was signed by Ukraine, Russia, and Turkey in July to unblock Ukrainian grain exports amid Russia’s full-scale invasion. Since July, 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.

The Kremlin said in a statement that Putin and Erdogan talked about some "obstacles" to food exports from Russia, which have to be "eliminated." The Kremlin said this is related to the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

Earlier in October, Russia threatened to withdraw from the deal unless the UN helps with "allowing the exports of Russian grains and fertilizers." Russia alleged that the exports are restricted due to the Western sanctions. However, the U.S. and Europe say they did not target Russian grain and fertilizer exports by sanctions imposed due to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

In November, Reuters reported that Russia was asking the West to ease sanctions on state agriculture lender Rosselkhozbank in order to facilitate Russian grain exports.

According to the Kremlin, Putin also gave Erdogan his "assessment" of the situation in Ukraine. The Kremlin didn't provide details.

Earlier on Dec. 9, Erdogan said he plans to speak with President Volodymyr Zelensky following his conversation with Putin, but he didn’t specify the date.

Explainer: What’s up with the ‘grain deal’ and Russia?
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