Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday during an appeal that Ankara attaches “particular importance” to efforts to establish a safe corridor for the export of Ukrainian agricultural products by sea, a Turkish readout from the call.
Zelensky said on Friday that 22 million tons of grain, accounting for nearly half of Ukraine’s grain exports, are being held up by Russia’s blockade of key export routes through the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov.
Erdogan told Zelensky, according to the readout, that Turkey has done everything it can to continue negotiations between Moscow and Kiev and is ready to offer more support, including mediation.
Erdogan also told the Ukrainian leader that Turkey would – in principle – join a possible monitoring center in Istanbul with the participation of Ukraine, Russia and the United Nations.
Erdogan also spoke to Putin on Monday: According to a Kremlin readout of a phone call on Monday between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Erdogan, the Russian leader said Moscow would support an “unfettered” export of Ukrainian grain from Ukrainian ports.
The two leaders had a “thorough” discussion on “the subject of bilateral cooperation, mainly in the trade and economic fields,” the Kremlin said.
“When discussing the situation in Ukraine, emphasis was placed on ensuring safe navigation in the Black Sea and the Azov Sea,” it added.
According to the Kremlin, Putin conveyed Russia’s “willingness” to “facilitate the unimpeded maritime transit of goods in cooperation with Turkish partners”, adding that this position “applies to grain exports from Ukrainian ports”.
Russia is also ready to “export significant amounts of fertilizers and agricultural products” if sanctions against the country “are lifted,” Putin added, according to the Kremlin readout of Monday’s call.
According to a Turkish readout of the call between the two leaders, Erdogan offered to organize talks between Russia, Ukraine and the United Nations in Istanbul.
DailyExpertNews’s Anna Chernova and Niamh Kennedy contributed to this post.