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Erdogan Discusses Grain, Energy Issues With Russia And Ukraine

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and related grain and energy issues in separate phone calls with his Russian and Ukrainian counterparts, officials of the nations involved said.

Following the early call with Russia's Vladimir Putin, the Turkish presidential office said on December 11 that Erdogan "expressed his sincere wish for the termination of the Russia-Ukraine war as soon as possible."

In a similar statement following Erdogan's call with Ukraine's Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the Turkish leader's office said he stated that "works continue to meet the Ukrainian people’s need for humanitarian aid in the looming harsh winter."

Following his talks with the Turkish leader, Zelenskiy said on Telegram that he thanked Turkey for "sheltering Ukrainian children and providing hundreds of generators for our cities."

He said he noted Turkey's support for the Grain From Ukraine initiative and that "we also discussed further work and possible expansion of the grain corridor."

Erdogan has attempted to keep lines of communication open between his NATO nation and the warring Ukrainian and Russian sides. He helped broker a UN deal designed to get Ukraine grain to world markets, especially to some of the poorer nations of Africa.

Ukraine is a leading global exporter of wheat and other grain, but farming and exports were badly hit when tens of thousands of Russian troops attacked in late February.

After months of stoppage due to a Russian embargo to keep clamps on Ukraine, the UN and Turkey brokered the deal with Moscow and Kyiv in July to resume Ukraine's Black Sea shipments of grain.

Erdogan's involvement comes as the European Union expressed concerns that Turkey was developing a close relationship with Russia despite the war and tough Western sanctions against Moscow.

German news agency dpa reported that EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell wrote in a letter to the EU parliament that deepening economic ties between Turkey and Russia is "a cause for great concern," as is Ankara’s refusal to join “EU's restrictive measures against Russia."



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