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Zelensky and Erdogan hold phone call, discuss grain deal

by Daria Shulzhenko July 22, 2023 12:39 AM 2 min read
This audio is created with AI assistance

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President Volodymyr Zelensky wrote on Twitter on July 21 that he and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had discussed the Black Sea Grain Initiative during a phone call.

"We coordinated efforts to restore the operation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative. Due to Russia's actions, the world is once again on the brink of a food crisis. A total of 400 million people in many countries in Africa and Asia are at risk of starvation," Zelensky wrote on Twitter.

"Together, we must avert a global food crisis," he wrote.

Zelensky also said they discussed the implementation of Ukraine's peace formula, and that he "asked for Erdogan's assistance in returning Ukrainian POWs, in particular Crimean Tatars."

On Twitter, Erdogan’s office wrote that the phone call was initiated by Zelensky, noting that Erdogan "stated that Turkey put forth an intense effort to make peace prevail."

The phone call comes days after Russia announced on July 17 that it was pulling out of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, critical for ensuring global food security.

The grain deal, brokered by Turkey and the UN in July 2022, has been essential in mitigating a global surge in food prices caused by Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine by allowing Ukraine to export its agricultural products via the Black Sea.

Following its withdrawal from the deal, Russia launched four consecutive strikes against  Ukraine’s southern Odesa Oblast, attacking the port infrastructure in and destroying 60,000 tons of grain.

"Russian terrorists absolutely deliberately targeted the infrastructure of the grain deal, and every Russian missile is a blow not only to Ukraine but also to everyone in the world who seeks a normal and safe life," Zelensky said.

Russia also declared that all vessels sailing to Ukrainian ports will be considered "military targets" starting from July 20.

This Week in Ukraine Ep. 17 – Black Sea grain deal is dead. What can Ukraine do?
Episode #17 of our weekly video podcast “This Week in Ukraine” is dedicated to the Black Sea grain deal, how Russia weaponized it, and ultimately killed it. Host Anastasiia Lapatina is joined by the Kyiv Independent’s reporter Alexander Query. Listen to the audio version of the podcast on Apple, S…

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