Putin tells Erdogan grain deal can be resumed after Sevastopol attack probe
Russian President Vladimir Putin told his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan in a phone call on Tuesday evening that Russia could consider the resumption of grain exports from Ukrainian seaports only after completion of an investigation of drone attacks on the Crimean naval port of Sevastopol.
Russia pulled out of a key grain deal on Saturday accusing Ukraine of a drone attack on the Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, Crimea.
The grain export deal was signed by Russia and Ukraine and brokered by Turkey and the United Nations in July to allow Ukrainian grain that was stuck in the silos in ports blockaded by the Russian fleet.
A news release from the Kremlin’s press service accused Kiev of using the humanitarian shipping corridor to carry out strikes against the infrastructure and ships of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, which were responsible for ensuring the safe operation of the route in question.
The Russian leader explained the conditions for the resumption of Russia's participation in this initiative.
"It is necessary to conduct thorough investigation into the circumstances of this incident, and also to secure Kiev’s real guarantees of strict observance of the Istanbul agreements, in particular, the non-use of the humanitarian corridor for military purposes. Only after that it would be possible to consider the resumption of the ‘Black Sea initiative’," the news release read.
It also said Putin had reminded Erdogan of "the failure to fulfill the second part of the package agreements - to unblock the export of Russian agricultural products and fertilizers to world markets".
Meanwhile, ships continued to move out of Ukrainian ports with cargoes “thanks to efforts by Turkey and the United Nations to keep the corridor open and working,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
"But a reliable and long-term defense is needed for the grain corridor," Zelenskyy said in his video address on Tuesday night.
Sources said the insurers were no longer offering new cargo insurance cover for shipments out of Ukraine.
Lloyd's of London insurer Ascot said on Monday it was suspending writing cover for new shipments. Since then, sources say other Lloyd's underwriters have followed suit.