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Erdogan talks grain exports with Putin, Zelenskyy

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Ankara, Jul 12: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke with both Russia and Ukraine's leaders on Monday, in Ankara's latest effort to mediate the dispute over Ukrainian grain.

Turkey has taken on a mediating role between Moscow and Kyiv since Russia sent invaded its neighbor on February 24. Representatives of both sides of the conflict last met for talks in Istanbul in March.

Erdogan talks grain exports with Putin, Zelenskyy

Erdogan urged Russia's president Vladimir Putin to establish a UN-backed corridor for Ukrainian grain exports through the Black Sea, Turkish state-owned media Andalou reported.

The Kremlin released a statement on the phone call between Erdogan and Putin, saying that "An exchange of views on the situation around Ukraine continued, including in the context of coordinating efforts to ensure the safety of navigation in the Black Sea and grain exports to global markets."

Armenia, Turkey agree to partially open borderArmenia, Turkey agree to partially open border

Ukraine is one of the world's biggest producers of grain, it makes up nearly a fifth of all the country's exports, according to official data.

But since the start of the conflict, Ukraine has been unable to use its seaports, the main export avenue. It has only been able to send abroad around a third of the grain it would have at the same time this year.

The diminished supply of Ukrainian grain has helped to drive global food prices to record highs, fueling concerns about future food security.

Zelenskyy urges 'unblocking ports'

For its part, Ukraine has accused Russia of stealing its grain and contributing to a global food shortage, by causing grain exports to become blocked in its ports.

In a tweet, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said thanked Erdogan for its sympathies expressed over the deaths of civilians in the war, adding that he appreciated Turkey's support.

"Discussed the importance of unblocking Ukrainian ports and resuming grain exports," Zelenskyy wrote.

The UN has already submitted a plan that would create safe corridors for grain to pass, set up around known mines. But the proposal has gained only limited support from both Moscow and Kyiv.

Since when did Qatar, Kuwait, Turkey become champions of religious freedom, human rightsSince when did Qatar, Kuwait, Turkey become champions of religious freedom, human rights

In the meantime, 30% of Ukraine's grain exports are being shipped from three Danube River ports in southwestern Ukraine.

Kyiv is also trying to ship grain via 12 border crossings with European countries, but a backlog has been created as trucks have had to wait in line for days.

Europe's infrastructure cannot yet absorb such a volume of grain, Ukrainian Grain Association chief Mykola Horbachov told the AP news agency.

The fate of Ukrainian farmers is also in doubt, as the crisis could cause many to go bankrupt, facing the most difficult situation since the country's independence in 1991, Horbachov warned.

Source: DW

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