Putin, Erdogan to Discuss Ukraine, Grain on Friday, Kremlin Says

Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan for talks Friday including on a deal reached to unblock exports of grain from Ukraine, the Kremlin said.

The meeting in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi will be “a good opportunity to synchronize watches on the subject of the effectiveness of this mechanism for exporting grain from Ukrainian ports,” Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told reporters Tuesday on a conference call. The two leaders will discuss Ukraine and also the situation in Syria, he said.

The talks come after the first ship carrying legal grain exports from Ukraine since Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion set sail from Odesa on Monday under a deal brokered by Turkey and the United Nations to help boost global food supplies.

Ukraine said it plans to cautiously ramp up exports, with no more than three vessels a day in each direction over the first two weeks through new safe-passage corridors established under the July 22 agreement.

If successful, exports could increase to as much as three million tons per month in four to six weeks’ time, Ukrainian Infrastructure Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov told Bloomberg TV on Monday.