Russian FM to talk about Ukraine grain deal, and energy during Turkey visit

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu will discuss the conflict in Ukraine, energy cooperation and the Black Sea grain deal during a two-day visit by a Russian delegation this week.

Turkey has positioned itself as a potential intermediary between Kyiv and Moscow in the 13-month conflict, brokering the only significant diplomatic breakthrough so far in the shape of a deal that facilitates exports of grain from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports despite a Russian blockade.

Russia’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday that Lavrov and Cavusoglu would use the visit on Thursday and Friday to touch base on the “situation in Ukraine” as well as consult on a wide range of regional and international issues.

“The ministers will exchange views on the current state of the Ukraine crisis, discuss the principles and means of a peaceful settlement of the conflict – which is only possible if Kyiv takes into account Russian interests and concerns,” the ministry said.

Moscow has said it is open to negotiations, but that Kyiv, must recognise the “new realities” of the conflict – namely Russia’s unilateral annexation of four Ukrainian regions last year and Crimea in 2014.

Zelenskiy has said he will not discuss a ceasefire until Russian troops have left every inch of Ukrainian territory.

Moscow said Lavrov and Cavusoglu would also discuss the state of the grain deal – which Russia said last month it would extend for 60 days despite the United Nations, Ukraine and Turkey pushing for a repeat 120-day rollover.