Putin demands investigation into Black Sea attack
In a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Putin demands assurances that Kiev will abide by the agreements made in Istanbul.
Following Moscow's suspension of the historic grain agreement, Russian President Vladimir Putin stressed the need for a thorough investigation into the incident in the Black Sea and for assurances that Kiev will abide by the agreements made in Istanbul.
During a phone call with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Putin assured Russia's willingness to supply substantial volumes of grain and fertilizers to Africa free of charge, a Kremlin statement said.
"Russia's readiness to supply significant volumes of grain and fertilizers to Africa free of charge was confirmed," the statement added.
The statement added that "Vladimir Putin informed about the reasons for Russia's decision to suspend the operation of this deal."
The statement also revealed that "the results of the trilateral meeting of the President of the Russian Federation with President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, which took place on October 31 in Sochi, were also discussed” during the phone call.
Earlier, the Turkish President called his Russian counterpart on Tuesday to express his "confidence" that the issue of grain exports from Ukraine could be resolved.
Erdogan informed Putin that he was "confident" there is a way out of the grain crisis using "a constructive approach," the Turkish presidency said.
He claimed that resolving the matter might spur action toward restarting talks between Russia and Ukraine on a ceasefire.
After accusing Kiev of launching a "massive" attack on Moscow's Black Sea Fleet in Crimea on Saturday, Moscow announced that it has indefinitely suspended its participation in a July agreement to export grain from the country's war-torn countryside.
Turkey, one of the brokers of that agreement alongside the United Nations, has stepped up diplomatic efforts in an attempt to salvage the deal signed by warring nations Russia and Ukraine.
The agreement, set to be renewed on November 19, aimed at reducing the global food crisis stoked by the war in Ukraine and had already allowed more than 9.7 million tonnes of Ukrainian grain to be exported.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, who announced Erdogan was due to speak with Putin earlier in the day, said, "We believe we will overcome this... (The grain deal) benefits everyone."
Erdogan said on Monday Turkey would pursue efforts to keep the agreement in force despite Russia's hesitation.
Russia suspends UN-brokered grain deal
Russia suspended its commitment to a landmark agreement that allowed vital grain exports from Ukraine after Kiev waged drone attacks on Russian ships in Crimea's Sevastopol.
After the Russian army accused Ukraine of a massive drone attack on its Black Sea fleet, Russia made the announcement, while the UN urged the deal to remain in effect. The deal, brokered in July by Turkey and the UN, was made to ease up the global food crisis caused by the war.
Since the agreement was struck, over 9 million tonnes of Ukrainian grain were exported; the deal, in addition, was supposed to be renewed on November 19.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated on numerous occasions that the majority of ships carrying Ukrainian grain did not make it to the world's poorest countries and instead ended up in Europe. Moscow has also maintained that the deal's provision for Russian food products is ineffective.
US urges Moscow to return to grain deal: Blinken
In response, the US is calling on Russia to rejoin the Black Sea Grain Initiative, according to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
Blinken accused Russia of "weaponizing food" and claimed that the Istanbul grain initiative "has been a success and must continue."
"We urge the Government of Russia to resume its participation in the Initiative, fully comply with the arrangement, and work to ensure that people around the world continue to be able to receive the benefits facilitated by the Initiative," Blinken said on Saturday.