The first face-to-face meeting between Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a year in Sochi on Monday did not go as Moscow and Ankara had hoped.
Putin refused to return to the “grain agreement”, which allowed the export of 30 million tons of food from Ukrainian ports. Erdogan has not given the green light to the “Gas Hub” project in Turkey. This is much needed by Gazprom, which has lost its market in Europe and suffered huge financial losses.
Putin: “Russia cheated again”
“We will be ready to resume the grain agreement once all the agreements established in it on the removal of restrictions on the export of Russian agricultural products are fully implemented,” Putin said, repeating the Kremlin’s previously repeated position.
Last time the deal was extended, Russia – according to Putin – was “cheated again”.
“Now we are saying that we are not against this agreement and we are ready to immediately withdraw it as soon as possible Promises made to us will be fulfilled“- said the President of Russia after the press conference in Sochi.
According to Putin, Russia will harvest 130 million tons of grain this year, of which 60 million tons will be exported. He said that Russia is ready to provide one million tons of this harvest to Turkey at a special discount.
The Kremlin leader promised that Russia would be a “reliable and responsible” gas supplier to Turkey and was ready to export raw materials through Turkish territory to third countries.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on September 4, 2023.
The Kremlin proposed a “gas hub” project last fall, hoping to replace the ruptured Nord Stream gas pipeline and create another platform for supplies to Europe.
However, Turkey has refused to invest in the project and stalled negotiations on the issue in March this year.
The risk of escalation in the Black Sea is increasing
On Monday, August 4, Putin said that “Gazprom has handed over to the Turkish side the plan to build a hub,” but so far the matter has not been taken further. Establishing a working group, agreeing on a legal framework, a plan for submitting offers and sending gas to consumers – all this, as the Russian president said, “is still on the table.”
Efforts to get Erdogan to become a mediator for a possible peace deal in Ukraine have been fruitless. Previous agreements reached in Istanbul were – according to Putin – “implemented” by Kiev.
“We hear about new initiatives, but this is not something that was discussed with us. So we do not see anything new,” the Russian president added.
In an interview with The Moscow Times, a source close to the Russian Foreign Ministry said the weeks leading up to Putin’s meeting with Erdogan were spent in intensive consultations between the ambassadors of Turkey and Russia, as well as representatives of the Turks and the European Union. , the United Nations, Ukraine and the United States.
The main topic in these negotiations is the grain agreement, the absence of which significantly increases the risk of escalation in the Black Sea.
“The Black Sea region is a catalyst for unlimited military conflict. It can affect not only military ships, but also commercial ships – not just warring parties, but all those traveling there,” said a person connected to the Russian ministry. Foreign Affairs.
. “Hardcore internet junkie. Award-winning bacon ninja. Social media trailblazer. Subtly charming pop culture advocate. Falls down a lot.”