According to the Kremlin, at their meeting in Sochi on the Black Sea, the two agreed on increased trade between the two countries “despite the current regional and global challenges”. For example, the conditions for cooperation are to be made easier for Russian and Turkish companies.
The Turkish nuclear power plant Akkuyu, which is being built by a Russian state-owned company, was also discussed at the four-hour meeting, Nowak said. In addition, both sides had agreed that Turkey would in future pay for Russian gas in rubles.
Erdogan meets Putin in Sochi
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan met in the Russian seaside resort of Sochi on Friday. Putin had thanked Erdogan in advance for mediating the conclusion of the grain agreement in a statement in Sochi. Meanwhile, the war in Ukraine continues.
Commitment to grain agreements
Putin and Erdogan also committed to the grain agreement that Russia and Ukraine had signed through Turkey and the United Nations. The need to “ensure the full implementation of the package agreement” was emphasized, Russian agencies quoted from a joint statement by the two heads of state. This also includes the unhindered export of Russian grain as well as fertilizer and raw materials.
Two weeks ago, with Turkish mediation, among others, Moscow and Kyiv agreed on an agreement to release grain exports, which had been blocked in Ukraine for months because of Russia’s war of aggression. However, Russia has always emphasized that in return it expects a lifting of Western sanctions that indirectly affect its own grain, food and fertilizer exports. That is what is meant when Moscow insists on the package character of the agreement.
More ships through the Black Sea
Last Monday, the first ship loaded with corn left the port of Odessa. Three more grain carriers followed on Friday. “The first caravan with Ukrainian grain left the ports of Greater Odessa,” Minister of Infrastructure Oleksandr Kubrakov said on Telegram. According to Ukrainian information, the three freighters are on their way to Turkey, Great Britain and Ireland. According to the Turkish Defense Ministry, they will be inspected in Istanbul.
Erdogan not only promoted the resumption of Ukrainian grain deliveries from the Black Sea ports, Putin said in Sochi. “At the same time, a package solution was adopted for the trouble-free delivery of Russian food and fertilizers to world markets,” said the Russian President. He also praised the Turkstream natural gas pipeline project. Europe should thank Turkey for uninterrupted supplies of Russian gas, Putin said.
Coordinated action in Syria
The two presidents also assured each other that they would act in concert and solidarity in fighting “all terrorist organizations in Syria”. Against the resistance of Russia, Turkey had occupied areas in northern Syria with military operations against Kurdish militias. At the last meeting between Erdogan and Putin in mid-July, the Russian president made it clear that he rejected Turkey’s plans.
“Turkey has legitimate interests for security reasons, which we of course take into account,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov before the meeting on Friday. However, it is “very important not to allow any measures that could lead to a destabilization of the situation in Syria or endanger Syria’s territorial and political integrity”.
Turkish combat drones are apparently not an issue
What was eagerly awaited was whether Putin and Erdogan would talk about a possible acquisition of Turkish combat drones by Russia. In the course of its war against Ukraine, Moscow had recently expressed interest in the Bayraktar TB2 weapons. In the evening, however, journalists from the state news agency Ria Nowosti said that the two presidents had not addressed the issue.
The conversation lasted four hours, according to the Turkish presidential palace and confirmed by Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov. “I believe that (today’s meeting) will open a whole new page in Turkish-Russian relations,” Erdogan said in advance.
Ukraine war continues
According to Ukrainian sources, Russian troops have meanwhile launched a major offensive in the Donetsk region in the east of the country. “In the Donetsk area, the enemy is conducting an offensive operation in the direction of Bakhmut and Avdiivka,” the Ukrainian General Staff said in its situation report. With the fighting, the Russian troops are trying to put themselves in a good starting position to capture the cities of Soledar and Bakhmut and to expand their control to the area west of Donetsk.
Moscow and Kyiv also accused each other of shelling the Russian-held Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine. On Friday, the Ukrainian army shelled the plant premises, several Russian agencies reported, citing the occupation administration of the city of Enerhodar, where the power plant is located. Two power lines were cut and a fire broke out. The information could not be independently verified. The Ukrainian side, on the other hand, said the Russians had shelled the area themselves.