Turkey's Erdogan says Black Sea grain deal can be restored soon


(c) Reuters. REUTERS/Mehmet Emin Calsikan/File Photo

MOSCOW (Reuters) -Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said after talks with Russia’s Vladimir REUTERS/Mehmet Emin Calsikan/File Photo

MOSCOW (Reuters) -Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said after talks with Russia’s Vladimir Putin on Monday that it would soon be possible to revive the grain deal that the United Nations says helped to ease a food crisis by getting Ukrainian grain to market.

Russia quit the deal in July – a year after it was brokered by the United Nations and Turkey – complaining that its own food and fertiliser exports faced serious obstacles.

Erdogan, who previously played a significant role in convincing Putin to stick with the deal, and the United Nations are both trying to get Putin to return to the deal. “We as Turkey believe that we can reach a solution in a short period of time that will satisfy the expectations of all,” Erdogan said after his first face-to-face meeting with Putin in Sochi, the Black Sea resort (

Erdogan said Ukraine should soften its negotiating position against Russia in talks over reviving the deal and export more grain to Africa rather than Europe.

“Ukraine needs to especially soften its approaches in order for it to be possible for joint steps to be taken with Russia,” he told reporters.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, speaking later on Ukrainian television, said Kyiv would not alter its stand, but would take note of Turkey’s account of the Sochi talks.

“We should not continue to be hostages to Russian blackmail, where Russia creates problems and then invites everyone to solve them,” Kuleba said.

“It is clear that we will stand in defence of all principled positions, especially regarding sanctions pressure on the Russian Federation. Putin, standing next to Erdogan, reiterated Russia’s position on the matter. The West must stop preventing Russian agricultural products from reaching the global market. A separate memorandum agreed with the United Nations calls for conditions to facilitate Russia’s food and fertiliser exports.


“We will be ready to consider the possibility of reviving the grain deal and I told Mr President about this again today – we will do this as soon as all the agreements on lifting restrictions on the export of Russian agricultural products are fully implemented,” Putin said.

He said Western claims that Russia had stoked a food crisis by suspending participation in the grain deal were incorrect as prices did not rise on its exit from the deal. “There is no shortage of food,” Putin stated.

While Russian exports of food and fertilizer are not subject to Western sanctions imposed after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Russia exported record amounts of wheat last year, Moscow and agricultural exporters say restrictions on payments, logistics and insurance have hindered shipments.

“The West continues to block the supply of grain and fertilisers from the Russian Federation to world markets,” Putin said, adding that the West had “cheated” Russia over the deal because rich countries got more than 70% of the grain exported under the deal.

Russia and Ukraine are two of the world’s key agricultural producers, and major players in the wheat, barley, maize, rapeseed, rapeseed oil, sunflower seed and sunflower oil markets. Putin said that Russia would harvest 130 million tonnes of grain this year, of which 60 millions tonnes could be exported.

U.N. One of Moscow’s most important demands is that the Russian Agricultural Bank be reconnected with the SWIFT system of international payments. The EU cut it off in June 2022 as part of sweeping sanctions imposed in response to the invasion.

Putin said that a plan to supply up to 1 million tonnes of Russian grain to Turkey at reduced prices for subsequent processing at Turkish plants and shipping to countries most in need was not an alternative to the grain deal. He also stated that Russia is close to an agreement with six African nations over a plan for Russia to provide Burkina Faso with 50,000 tonnes of free grain.