World

Putin ‘to visit Turkey soon’ to discuss Black Sea grain exports

It would be Mr Putin’s first trip to a Nato country since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine two years ago.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to visit Turkey on February 12, according to Turkish media (Alexander Kazakov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
Russia Putin Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to visit Turkey on February 12, according to Turkish media (Alexander Kazakov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP) (Alexander Kazakov/AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Turkey soon, the Turkish foreign minister has said.

It would be Mr Putin’s first trip to a Nato country since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine two years ago.

Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan told the A Haber private TV channel that Mr Putin’s meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will focus on a new way to allow Ukrainian grain exports through the Black Sea.

He did not mention a date for the visit, but Turkish media has reported that Mr Putin will come on February 12.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (centre) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) arrive for a family photo with other world leaders during the G20 summit in Hamburg in 2017
G20 meeting – Germany Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (centre) and Russian President Vladimir Putin (left) arrive for a family photo with other world leaders during the G20 summit in Hamburg in 2017 (Matt Cardy/PA)

The International Criminal Court last year issued an arrest warrant against Mr Putin over the alleged deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia, greatly limiting his opportunity to travel abroad.

Turkey, like Russia, is not a party to the court, allowing Mr Putin to visit without fear of arrest.

Turkey has sought to maintain good ties with both Russia and Ukraine, its Black Sea neighbours. While declining to join Western sanctions on Moscow, it has also backed Ukraine’s territorial integrity and provided arms to Kyiv.

“The previous grain deal worked within a certain mechanism. Now it has been seen that there is a possibility of going with a different mechanism,” Mr Fidan said, referring to the previous deal that lasted a year before Russia withdrew in July.

At the time, Russia said the deal would be suspended until demands to get Russian food and fertilizer to the world are met.

Turkey helped the United Nations broker that accord to provide safe passage from Ukrainian ports.

Mr Fidan said Mr Erdogan would also discuss with Mr Putin security in Syria and energy co-operation.