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Turkey and Russia to discuss 'new mechanism' for shipping Ukrainian grain

by Abbey Fenbert February 5, 2024 12:43 AM 2 min read
A pile of maize grains is seen on the pier at the Izmail Sea Port, Odesa Oblast, on July 22, 2023. Illustrative purposes only. (Stringer/ AFP via Getty Images)
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin will discuss a new mechanism for exporting Ukrainian grain via the Black Sea during Putin's upcoming visit to Turkey, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said in a television interview  Feb. 4, as reported by Reuters.

Russian media on Jan. 29 announced Putin's plans to visit Turkey in February. The visit, set for Feb. 12, marks Putin's first trip to a NATO country since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Fidan told A Haber television that the leaders will discuss "new methods" of shipping Ukrainian grain products following Moscow's withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative in July 2023.

"The previous grain deal worked within a certain mechanism, now it has been seen that there is a possibility of going with a different mechanism, and now there are efforts to concretize this possibility," Fidan said.

The United Nations and Turkey brokered the grain deal in July 2022 in order to mitigate a global food crisis triggered by Russia's all-out war. Since Russia's unilateral exit, Ankara has held talks both with Kyiv and Moscow, discussing options for its restoration.

Putin has said that Russia will not restore the deal unless Western countries withdraw  certain sanctions.

Russia's withdrawal from the accord coincided with a wave of attacks targeting Ukraine's port and grain infrastructure.

Fidan said in the interview that some vessels have been able to transport Ukrainian grain to global food markets even in the absence of the agreement.

"We want to make clear this de-facto (situation) with the new mechanism," he said.

Putin's international visits have been curtailed since the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant in March 2023 for his role in the deportations of Ukrainian children. Turkey is not party to the ICC's Rome Statute, meaning it is under no obligation to detain Putin.

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