Russian President Vladimir Putin in a phone call with his Turkish counterpart has emphasized that Moscow was ready to return to the Black Sea grain deal as soon as the West met its obligations with regard to Russia’s own grain exports.
In a statement on Putin’s call with President Tayyip Erdogan, the Kremlin said on Wednesday, “It was noted that in the conditions of a complete lack of progress in the implementation of the Russian part of the ‘grain deal’, its further extension has lost all meaning.”
It added that Russia would return to the deal “as soon as the West actually fulfills all the obligations to Russia” contained within it.
Erdogan’s office, for its part, said the Turkish leader had emphasized the importance of avoiding steps that could jeopardize the resumption of the Black Sea grain deal, which he described as a “bridge of peace”.
“President Erdogan expressed the importance of refraining from steps that could escalate tensions during the Russia-Ukraine war, emphasizing the significance of the Black Sea initiative, which he described as a bridge of peace,” the statement read.
The deal, brokered by Turkey and the United Nations in July 2022, allowed for the safe export of grain from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports.
Russia refused to extend the year-old agreement last month on the grounds that it failed to meet Moscow’s expectations, including the ability to export its own food and fertilizers.
The Kremlin also says Kiev is using the grain export corridor as a cover to launch terrorist attacks against Russian targets, which needed to be resolved, as well.
Meanwhile, the UN has expressed concerns over the expiration of the grain deal.
UN official Rosemary DiCarlo recently in a briefing to the Security Council said food prices have been rising around the globe since the collapse of the deal, thus adding to the agricultural, energy, and financial crises already affecting the world’s most vulnerable people.
More than 24.1 million tons have been exported under the Black Sea Grain Initiative, according to the United Nations.