Ankara will not jeopardize its warships to help Kiev export grain, a source has told the agency.
Ankara would most likely reject any request from Kiev to use Turkish warships to escort vessels with Ukrainian grain in the Black Sea, Bloomberg has reported, citing an informed source.
Russia officially withdrew from the Black Sea grain deal on Monday. The agreement was initially signed in July 2022 through mediation by the UN and Türkiye, and provided for the safe shipment of Ukrainian grain through Black Sea corridors amid the conflict between Moscow and Kiev. Moscow justified its withdrawal from the deal by citing unfulfilled Western promises to lift sanctions on the export of Russian food products and fertilizer.
Reporting on Tuesday, Bloomberg cited Dmitry Skornyakov, CEO of Ukraine’s HarvEast Holding, who suggested that “the main task for Ukraine now is to get the support of Türkiye” in order to continue grain shipments from Black Sea ports.
According to Skornyakov, Ankara could deploy the Turkish navy to protect cargo vessels traveling in and out of Ukrainian ports.
However, an official familiar with the matter later told Bloomberg that providing military escorts would be “a highly risky move” for Türkiye, and that Ankara was unlikely to agree if formally approached by Kiev.
Türkiye would not jeopardize its naval ships and was instead focused on trying to restore the grain deal with Russia’s participation through diplomatic means, the source added.
On Monday, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said he had sent letters to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, asking them to extend the grain deal without Russia. Ankara and the UN would be able to “ensure the work of the food corridor and the inspection of ships” on their own, he argued.
Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov warned on Tuesday that countries that continue agricultural exports via the Black Sea will face “certain risks.” “Therefore, if some [agreements] are to be formalized without Russia, then these risks should be taken into account,” he pointed out.
Erdogan said earlier this week that he believed Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin was interested in maintaining the grain deal. The Turkish leader promised to discuss options for extending the agreement and “how we can act to open the way for the transport of Russian fertilizer and grain” during a visit by Putin to Türkiye in August. The Kremlin has yet to confirm that such a trip is being planned.