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Ukraine's Zelenskyy to visit Turkey as Erdogan seeks to extend grain deal

Military aid to Ukraine and another extension of Black Sea grain deal are expected to dominate the talks in Istanbul.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L) and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky react while giving a press conference following the talks with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in Lviv on Aug. 18, 2022, amid Russian invasion of Ukraine.

ANKARA — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is set to travel to Turkey this week and meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s public broadcaster TRT reported on Thursday.

Zelenskyy and Erdogan are set to hold a joint presser in Istanbul on Friday following one-to-one and delegation-level talks over the Ukrainian war, grain deal and bilateral ties between Ankara and Kyiv, TRT said.

Extension of the Black Sea grain deal, which allows Ukrainian grain and other products to reach world markets, is expected to be high on the agenda of the talks in Istanbul. Defying international calls, Russia has been dragging its feet to extend the deal, which will expire on July 17.

Russia and Ukraine signed separate agreements with Turkey and the United Nations to allow their various products to reach world markets via Black Sea. However, Moscow argues that obstacles before Russian exports stemming from international sanctions remain intact despite the deal. Earlier this week, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said there were no grounds for extending the deal, which has already been extended several times since it was struck last July.

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