ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will discuss the war in Ukraine and the Black Sea Grain Initiative during a visit to Ankara by the Russian leader, Turkey’s foreign minister said on Tuesday.
Hakan Fidan did not give a date for the trip, which would mark Putin’s first trip to a NATO member state since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. A Turkish official told Reuters last week he would visit Turkey on Feb. 12.
Ankara has sought to persuade Russia to return to the Black Sea Grain Initiative – brokered by Turkey and the United Nations – that ensured the safe export of Ukrainian grain during the war via the Black Sea. Russia withdrew from the accord in July 2023 and has said it was not interested in reviving it.
Speaking at a press conference in the Maltese capital Valletta, Fidan said Turkey was working with Ukraine and Russia to revive the accord.
He said Ankara valued its “ongoing, regular” dialogue with Moscow on a host of issues, from energy to policy differences regarding regional conflicts in Syria, Libya, and Southern Caucasus.
“We have always stood by Ukraine’s territorial integrity and will continue to stand by it, but the destructive impact of the war must end somehow too,” Fidan said, pointing to the grain deal.
NATO member Turkey shares a maritime border with Ukraine and Russia in the Black Sea and has aimed to maintain good ties with both amid the war. It has provided military support for Kyiv and voiced support for its territorial integrity, while opposing the sanctions on Russia.
The Kremlin has said Erdogan and Putin would discuss setting up a gas hub in Turkey and the war in Ukraine during the visit.
(Reporting by Tuvan Gumrukcu; Editing by Jonathan Spicer and Alison Williams)
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