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West must keep ‘promises’ on Ukraine grain deal: Erdoğan

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Tuesday that the revival of a deal with Russia to allow Ukrainian grain exports, brokered by Ankara and the UN, “depends on Western countries, which must keep their promises,” Agence France-Presse reported.

“I think a solution can be found,” Erdoğan added, referring to a recent telephone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who refused to extend the accord.

Turkey was a key player in the now collapsed deal that allowed for safe passage of Ukrainian grain shipments via the Black Sea.

The accord, brokered by Ankara and the United Nations in July 2022, ended last month after Moscow refused to renew it.

Last month, during a joint press conference with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Erdoğan announced that Putin would visit Turkey in August.

But Moscow was annoyed when Zelensky returned from Istanbul with five top commanders from the Azov regiment of Ukraine, who were supposed to have remained in Turkey until the end of the conflict under a prisoner exchange deal with Moscow.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said at the time that it was “a direct violation” of the agreement with Turkey.

Turkey, a NATO member, has managed to maintain friendly ties with both Russia and Ukraine throughout the war.

Ankara has refused to join Western sanctions imposed on Russia but has supplied arms to Ukraine.

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