Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday he believes an agreement allowing for Ukrainian grain exports through the Black Sea will remain in place beyond its Saturday expiration.
Erdogan told reporters at the G-20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, that there were ongoing talks about extending the deal, and that he planned to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin upon returning from the summit.
The United Nations and Turkey brokered deals with Ukraine and Russia in July to allow for Ukraine to export grain from its Black Sea ports with vessels screened in Turkey, and for Russia to export food and fertilizer.
The U.N. says about 11 million tons of grain and foodstuffs have been exported to 42 countries since the deal began.
Russia launched waves of airstrikes on Ukraine Tuesday, targeting 10 regions, including the capital of Kyiv, in a military rebuke to Ukrainians reveling in one of their biggest wartime successes, last week’s takeover of the key southern city of Kherson.
Air raid alerts sounded throughout the country. The barrage of nearly 100 strikes — including with missiles — followed days of euphoria in Ukraine after the Russian retreat from Kherson and the Ukrainian takeover of the regional capital that Moscow’s forces had captured early in the nearly nine-month war.
In Bali, Indonesia, at the meeting of the leaders of the Group of 20 largest industrialized countries, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan condemned the Russian airstrikes.
“It is not lost on us that, as world leaders meet at the G-20 in Bali to discuss the issues of significant importance to the lives and livelihoods of people around the world, Russia again threatens those lives and destroys Ukraine’s critical infrastructure. These Russian strikes will serve to only deepen the concerns among the G20 about the destabilizing impact of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s war,” Sullivan said in a statement. “We will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes.”
With its battlefield defeats, Russia has resorted to more long-range aerial attacks on Ukraine’s power grid as winter approaches, believing it to be a demoralizing psychological weapon to leave Ukrainians in the cold and dark.
White House correspondent Anita Powell contributed to this report.