Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky during a call on Monday that Ankara places “particular importance” on efforts to establish a safe corridor to export Ukrainian agricultural products by sea, a Turkish readout of the call said.
On Friday, Zelensky said that 22 million tons of grain, accounting for nearly half of Ukraine’s grain export supply, is being held up by Russia’s blockade of the main export routes through the Black Sea and Azov Sea.
Erdogan told Zelensky, according to the readout, that Turkey made every effort to continue negotiations between Moscow and Kyiv and is ready to provide more support, including mediation.
Erdogan also told the Ukrainian leader that Turkey would welcome — in principle — joining a possible Istanbul-based monitoring center with the participation of Ukraine, Russia and the United Nations.
Erdogan also spoke to Putin on Monday: According to a Kremlin readout of a Monday call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Erdogan, Russia’s leader said Moscow would support an “unimpeded” export of Ukrainian grain from Ukrainian ports.
The two leaders had a “thorough” discussion on “the subject of bilateral cooperation, primarily in the trade and economic sphere,” the Kremlin said.
“When discussing the situation in Ukraine, emphasis was placed on the issues of ensuring safe navigation in the Black and Azov Seas,” it added.
According to the Kremlin, Putin conveyed Russia’s “readiness” to “facilitate the unimpeded maritime transit of goods in coordination with Turkish partners,” adding that this position “applies to the export of grain from Ukrainian ports.”
Russia is also ready to “export significant volumes of fertilizers and agricultural products” if the sanctions placed on the country “are lifted,” Putin added, according to the Kremlin readout of Monday’s call.
According to a Turkish readout of the call between both leaders, Erdogan offered to host talks between Russia, Ukraine, and the United Nations in Istanbul.
CNN’s Anna Chernova and Niamh Kennedy contributed reporting to this post.