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Russian, Turkish leaders discuss grain export deal via phone

Cargo ships anchored in the Marmara Sea await to cross the Bosphorus Straits in Istanbul, Türkiye, Nov 1, 2022. (KHALIL HAMRA / AP)

MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a phone conversation on Tuesday to discuss the implementation of a deal on the export of grain from the Black Sea ports.

A Kremlin statement said that Putin repeated Russia's accusation that Ukraine used the humanitarian corridor to carry out strikes on the infrastructure and vessels of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, which ensured the safe operation of the shipping route.

READ MORE: Russia halts participation in grain deal

Putin called for a detailed investigation into the incident and demanded Ukraine's guarantee of not using the humanitarian corridor for military purposes, before discussing the issue of resuming work within the deal or the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

According to Putin, part of the Black Sea Grain Initiative has failed as restrictions on the export of Russian agricultural products and fertilizers to world markets are not removed.

Putin called for a detailed investigation into the incident and demanded Ukraine's guarantee of not using the humanitarian corridor for military purposes, before discussing the issue of resuming work within the deal or the Black Sea Grain Initiative

He also noted that during three months of the deal, the task of ensuring the delivery of food as a priority to the most needy countries was not fulfilled.

In this regard, Putin voiced Russia's readiness to supply "significant volumes" of grain and fertilizers to Africa for free.

ALSO READ: Ukraine suspends grain export for 'corridor blockage'

Also on Tuesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar discussed the grain export deal over phone.

On July 22, Russia and Ukraine separately signed a document in Istanbul with Türkiye and the United Nations on grain and fertilizer exports from Ukraine and Russia to ensure supplies to global markets amid the Russia-Ukraine armed conflict.

READ MORE: UN chief seeks to save Ukraine grain deal

On Oct 29, Russia announced the decision to immediately and indefinitely suspend its implementation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, accusing Ukraine of launching drone attacks against the Russian Black Sea Fleet's ships and infrastructure at the naval base in Sevastopol.