Putin: No Grain Deal Until West Meets Russia’s Demands


Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that the U.N.-brokered Black Sea grain deal that allowed Ukraine to export grain safely through the Black Sea corridor won’t be restored until the West honors Moscow’s terms on its own agricultural exports.

During a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Russian resort of Sochi Monday, Putin maintained that unless restrictions on shipping and insurance that are hampering Russia’s agricultural trade are lifted, Russia would not restore the deal. 

Russia bowed out of the Black Sea grain deal in July, complaining that a parallel deal promising to remove obstacles to Russian exports of food and fertilizer had not materialized. 

Putin reiterated those complaints Monday adding, if Moscow’s terms were satisfied, Russia could return to the deal “within days.”

His remarks dashed hopes that his talks with Erdogan could revive the agreement, seen as vital for global food supplies, especially in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

However, Erdogan said he is still hopeful that a breakthrough could come soon. He said Turkey and the U.N. have put together a new package of proposals to unblock the issue.

“I believe that we will reach a solution that will meet the expectations in a short time,” Erdogan told reporters alongside Putin, after the leaders held talks in Sochi.

The Turkish president also said that Ukraine should soften its negotiating position against Russia in talks over reviving a grain export deal.

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

He said more grain needed to be sent to Africa rather than European countries.
The meeting in Sochi came after talks by the foreign ministers of Russia and Turkey last week, after which Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said he had given Turkey a list of Russian demands to restart the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

Drone attacks

Russia’s defense ministry said Monday its forces destroyed four Ukrainian high-speed military boats in the northwestern part of the Black Sea. In a Telegram post, the Russian ministry said the boats were carrying Ukrainian troops heading for the Crimean coast.

Ukraine’s air force issued multiple warnings overnight for Russian drones heading toward parts of Ukraine, including the Izmail area along the Danube River, which has been key to grain exports during the past few months.

Oleh Kiper, governor of the Odesa region, said on Telegram that Ukrainian air defenses shot down 17 Russian drones, but said there was damage on the ground to warehouses, production buildings and agricultural machinery in Izmail. Kiper said falling debris from the drones also caused several fires.

Ukrainian foreign ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko said on Facebook that according to Ukraine’s state border guard service, Russian drones that were part of the attack on Izmail fell and detonated on the territory of neighboring Romania.

Romania’s defense ministry said it monitored the attack as it was happening, but that the “drone attacks by the Russian Federation did not pose any direct military threats against our national territory or Romania’s territorial waters.”

“The Ministry of National Defense firmly condemns the attacks targeting the Ukrainian sites and civilian infrastructure elements, considering them unjustified and breaking all international humanitarian rules,” it said in a statement.

Defense leadership 

Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov announced Monday he submitted a letter of resignation to the chairman of the country’s parliament, a day after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he would replace Reznikov with Rustem Umerov.

“It was an honor to serve the Ukrainian people and work for the #UAarmy for the last 22 months, the toughest period of Ukraine’s modern history,” Reznikov said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Zelenskyy said in his nightly address Sunday that he expects parliament to give its approval to Umerov, a Crimean Tatar and a former lawmaker who is currently in charge of Ukraine’s main privatization fund.

“I’ve decided to replace the minister of defense of Ukraine. Oleksii Reznikov has been through more than 550 days of full-scale war,” Zelenskyy said. “I believe the ministry needs new approaches and other formats of interaction with both the military and society as a whole,” he said.

Reznikov has played a pivotal role in securing billions of dollars’ worth of Western military aid to help the war effort. However, during his appointment, the defense ministry has been tarnished by graft allegations Reznikov described as smears.


The VOA is the Voice of America

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