Putin: It's a No for Me on Ukraine Grain Deal

After Turkey talks, Russian leader says he could commit to deal 'within days' if his demands are met
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2023 11:45 AM CDT
Putin Bids Adieu to Turkey Talks With No Grain Deal
Russian President Vladimir Putin leaves after talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at Russia's Black Sea resort of Sochi on Monday.   (Sergei Karpukhin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Earlier Monday, Vladimir Putin had said he was "open to negotiations" on reviving an agreement that would allow Ukraine to export grain and other commodities through Black Sea ports. Those negotiations are now apparently over, at least for now, and the answer from the Russian leader is a no, reports the AP. The news agency notes that Putin's refusal to extend the deal, which was seen as critical for world food supplies, "dashed hopes that his talks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan could revive" it.

Putin, who met with Erdogan in the Russian resort town of Sochi, said he wouldn't agree to restoring the deal unless Moscow's own agricultural demands are met by the West—in which case Putin said Russia could commit to the deal "within days." Those demands include a removal of restrictions on shipping and insurance. Erdogan, for his part, seemed optimistic that would eventually be the case, noting, "I believe that we will reach a solution that will meet the expectations in a short time."

The Hill notes that Putin in July put a stop to the deal that allowed for Ukrainian exports of grain and other food supplies to the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. The wartime deal had been brokered by Turkey and the United Nations in 2022, which made sure that nations in need received shipments of wheat, barley, and sunflower oil, among other commodities. Putin said Monday that Russia was close to closing a deal that would provide free grain to six African nations: Zimbabwe, Mali, Burkina Faso, Eritrea, Somalia, and the Central African Republic. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has accused Putin of using Ukraine's grain as "blackmail" to gain leverage in his invasion of that country. (More Vladimir Putin stories.)

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