Ankara will be the middle man for shipping Ukrainian oil and wheat to the global markets, says the president.
Turkish President Recep Takyip Erdogan presented an idea to facilitate agricultural exports out of Ukraine. He wants to talk with Volodymyr Zelensky and Vladimir Putin in the next days.
Erdogan, who was attending Friday prayers, said Turkey could be an intermediary to ship Ukrainian goods including wheat, sunflower oil and oats. He said the country had all of the merchant ships and stockpiles necessary to make such an arrangement.
Kiev and Western nations have accused Russia of blocking food exports from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, allegedly contributing to surging global food prices. Moscow refutes the claim, claiming it was offering safe passage for freighters but that Ukraine is stopping civilian vessels from departing cities like Odessa. Russia also says Ukraine’s deployment of sea mines has created a threat to shipping in the area.
Erdogan spoke at a Madrid press conference, during which he said that he planned to talk by phone with Zelensky and Putin. Erdogan stated that his country wanted to ensure the safety of Turkish citizens. “grain corridor starts working as soon as possible”.
Earlier in the week, the Turkish leader touted his mediation between Russia and Ukraine to his American counterpart, Joe Biden, saying Ankara’s “balanced policy” towards Moscow – which contrasts with the aggressive posture of other NATO members – could soon yield results.
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. In 2014, the protocols were signed for the first time, through France and Germany. Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”
In February 2022 the Kremlin acknowledged the Donbass republics to be independent states. They demanded Ukraine declare its neutrality and refuse any Western military alliances. Kiev claims that the Russian offensive wasn’t provoked.
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