Ankara, Jul 7 (EFE).- The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has announced that he will speak with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, about an extension of the agreement to release Ukrainian cereals from the Black Sea beyond 17 of July.
At a press conference in Ankara, Erdogan said that he has “discussed” this matter with Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelenski, and that he will discuss it with Putin “by phone or next month, when he comes (to Turkey).”
The Turkish president did not specify the date of that visit, which would be the first by the head of the Kremlin since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
The so-called “grain corridor”, a pact signed a year ago between Kiev and Moscow with the mediation of Ankara and the UN so that ships loaded with grain can leave from the Black Sea ports to the international market, expires on the 17th of July.
“We are working to prolong the agreement on grains. We want the extension of the agreement that will end on July 17. I believe that the parties (Moscow and Kiev) will act responsibly,” Erdogan said, noting that currently “there are 12 Turkish ships held in Ukrainian ports”.
For his part, Zelensky declared that “everyone wants the continuation” of the grain deal, and accused Moscow of blocking it.
“Russia behaves as if the Black Sea belongs to it and prevents the movement of ships. We have to help the world overcome hunger and social chaos,” he said.
“The continuation of the grain corridor must not be linked to the mood of the Russian president. Russia is blockading the Black Sea. Russia must not shoot at ships,” the Ukrainian president said.
The UN Secretary General, António Guterres, asked today, in a statement, to “prioritize global food security” given the prospect that the agreement will not be renewed due to Russian opposition.
Guterres recalled that the grain agreement has contributed to a significant drop in food prices worldwide.
However, Russia has said it sees no basis for prolonging it again because the Ukrainian grain deal has become a trade pact, not a humanitarian one.
In addition, he has denounced that international sanctions against Russia prevent the part of the pact that was to guarantee its exports of food and fertilizers from being fulfilled.