Espreso. Global
OPINION

Erdogan's talks with Putin: grain deal and consequences

4 September, 2023 Monday
21:18

Presidents of Russia and Turkey Vladimir Putin and Recep Erdogan have held talks in Sochi to discuss the crucial Black Sea grain deal that was abandoned by Russia in July

No agreement was reached on renewing the grain deal. Putin said that Western countries "deceived" Russia about the Black Sea Initiative and "simply forced" Moscow to withdraw from the agreement.

Russia (Putin) is demanding:

1. connecting Rosselkhozbank to the SWIFT system,

2. resumption of supply of imported spare parts for agricultural machinery,

3. unblocking transportation logistics and insurance,

4. restoration of the Togliatti-Odesa ammonia pipeline

5. "unfreezing" the assets of Russian companies under sanctions.

Putin blamed Ukraine for everything and said that Russia is ready to supply up to 1 million tons of grain at a preferential price through Turkey to the poorest countries. In this, Moscow is also counting on Qatar's help (which, as I understand it, will have to pay for this Russian generosity).

Erdogan said that Turkey was ready to mediate in negotiations with Ukraine. He also said that if Ukraine wanted to renew the grain deal, it would have to make concessions to Russia. If it wants to.

That's all I can say here:

1. Of course, no one will agree to resume the grain deal on such terms, and Putin is well aware of this. No one cares about the desire of some UN officials to restore the agreement at any cost.

2. One million tons of grain at any price will not stabilize grain prices on the markets. Because the problem with blocking Ukrainian exports is not the volume, but the way the blockade affects prices on the market in general.

3. There is only one way for Ukraine to resume full exports: de-blockade of ports by destroying Russian military capabilities in the Black Sea. And this is what will continue. Actually, this is nothing new.

4. The Russian threat to Ukrainian ports and the (already relevant) Ukrainian threat to Novorossiysk, Russia's largest grain, oil, and gas port, will continue to ensure instability in world grain prices.

5. Accordingly, this will spur inflation in the poorest regions and push them toward greater instability. First of all, we are talking about Africa and the poorest countries in Asia. In fact, price instability in food markets was one of the impulses behind the Arab Spring.

6. This will cause problems for everyone. Including Russia and China, because their allies will have problems, and European countries will face increased migration pressure.

What should the world do about it? Only to put pressure on Russia and demilitarize the Russian Black Sea Fleet. This is the only rational way.

So, yes, the story with the grain from Ukraine and Russia demonstrates very clearly why free and secure trade is so important for the world. And how bad it is when war destroys trade routes. And it seems that the lesson should be that the initiators of wars should be beaten collectively. And not to look for a compromise. Right, UN?

Source

About the author. Yuriy Bohdanov, publicist and strategic communications specialist in business, public administration and politics.

The editors don't always share the opinions expressed by the authors of the blogs.

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