Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdogan have met again almost a year after their last meeting in Astana. Many things have happened since then, such as the narrow victory of the Turkish president in the last elections or the issuance of the arrest warrant against Putin issued last March by the International Criminal Court that has forced him not to leave Russia. all this time.
As announced last week, Erdoğan traveled this Monday to the spa city of Sochi, where his Russian counterpart was waiting for him. Since the war in Ukraine began, few world leaders have traveled to Russia to meet with the head of the Kremlin. Despite its membership of NATO, Turkey can today be considered one of Russia’s strategic partners, even though difficult times have been experienced between these two countries.
Both presidents acknowledge that they maintain constant communication by telephone, which demonstrates the good harmony between Moscow and Ankara. The rapprochement occurred at the beginning of August, with a phone call between the two leaders. In it, President Putin spoke of “the Russian position” in relation to the freezing of the pact for grain exports, recalling that exports of Russian agricultural products and fertilizers to global markets had not been unlocked, one of the Kremlin’s demands when the famous agreement with the UN for the facilitation of Ukrainian exports was signed. For his part, the Turkish president expressed his commitment to continue to do everything possible to unblock the suspension of the grain agreementassuming that blocking it “for a long period of time does not benefit anyone.”
That suspension was ordered by Moscow last July. The Russian president has expressed this Monday his favorable position to resume the pact for the export of grain only if the West again lifts some of the economic sanctions imposed on Russia that are slowing down the transportation of Russian products, as well as reconnecting at least one Russian agricultural bank to the SWIFT system. According to Putin, it would be resumed at the moment “when the promises made (by the West) are fulfilled.”
Since the agreement for the export of Ukrainian grains came into force in the summer of last year, Kyiv has been able to ship 33 million tons from its Black Sea ports. With its suspension, Ukraine has only been able to export a small part of its production from other ports in the country’s interior.
Despite the current situation, President Erdogan is confident that an agreement can be reached that will resume exports from Ukraine, due to the shortage of cereals in many poor countries, which have suffered an increase in prices due to the increase in the cost of transportation and the reduction of what is exported. For this, he advanced that His country will send a series of recommendations to the UN that will satisfy Moscow and Kyiv.
The other issue to be discussed by both leaders was the war in Ukraine, always present in any international meeting that President Putin attends. The Russian leader focused on the famous Ukrainian counteroffensive and its “little success.” «As for the Ukrainian counteroffensive: it has not stalled, it has failed, or at least that is what it seems today. We will see what happens later, hopefully it will continue like this, “said Vladimir Putin, whose plans in this conflict remain a mystery.
Russia remains expectant and has not played a very active role on the front in recent months, seeing how the advance of the Ukrainian troops has not been as important as they expected, despite having many more resources. The feared Wagner battalion is no longer among the Russian ranks, and its leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, who died last month, is no longer an uncomfortable element for the Kremlin. On the other hand, General Sergei Surovikin, the main architect of Russian successes on the battlefield, has been dismissed. Moscow endures, with no new mobilizations in sight, a Ukrainian attrition to launch its offensive once winter has entered, while continuing with the production of weapons and drones.
The Russian leader took advantage of his meeting with the media after his meeting with Erdogan to affirm that “the conflict (with Ukraine) will only come to an end through diplomacy. There will be no winners in war, no losers in a just peace.” “We have heard about some new initiatives (to achieve peace), but these have never been discussed with us. “We don’t see anything new.”
Regarding bilateral relations between both countries, several agreements were signed, among which the creation of a gas center in Turkey is planned. In addition, the first block of the Akkuyu nuclear power plant, built with the direct participation of Moscow, is scheduled to be put into operation next year. The president emphasized that Russia is always in a hurry to help Turkey overcome the consequences of natural disasters. Putin and Erdogan have also agreed to continue cooperating in resolving the conflict in Syria.within the “Astana format” and the possible support of Moscow for Turkey to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council has also been discussed, with the reform of the organization proposed by Ankara that begins today in New York.