Monday’s meeting in Sochi comes amid international efforts to patch up the Black Sea Grain Initiative.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet with Vladimir Putin on Monday, hoping to persuade the Russian leader to rejoin the Black Sea grain deal that Moscow broke off from in July.
Here are some key things to know and what’s at stake:
Where will the talks be held?
The meeting in Sochi on Russia’s southern coast comes after weeks of speculation about when and where the two leaders might meet.
Erdogan previously said that Putin would travel to Turkey in August.
Why did Russia leave the grain deal?
The Kremlin refused to renew the grain agreement six weeks ago. The deal — brokered by the United Nations and Turkey in July 2022 — had allowed nearly 33 million metric tons (36 million tons) of grain and other commodities to leave three Ukrainian ports safely despite Russia’s war.
However, Russia pulled out after claiming that a parallel deal promising to remove obstacles to Russian exports of food and fertilizer hadn’t been honored.
Moscow complained that restrictions on shipping and insurance hampered its agricultural trade, even though it has shipped record amounts of wheat since last year.
Why is Turkey a broker?
Since Putin withdrew from the initiative, Erdogan has repeatedly pledged to renew arrangements that helped avoid a food crisis in parts of Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan met Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu in Moscow on Friday ahead of the Erdogan-Putin meeting. Fidan had said at a briefing in Moscow on Thursday that reviving the deal was important for the world.
Ukraine and Russia are major suppliers of wheat, barley, sunflower oil and other goods that developing nations rely on.
The Turkish president has maintained close ties to Putin during the 18-month war in Ukraine. Turkey hasn’t joined Western sanctions against Russia following its invasion, emerging as a main trading partner and logistical hub for Russia’s overseas trade.
NATO member Turkey, however, has also supported Ukraine, sending arms, meeting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and backing Kyiv’s bid to join NATO.
What are Russia’s demands?
The Sochi summit follows talks between the Russian and Turkish foreign ministers on Thursday, during which Russia handed over a list of actions that the West would have to take in order for Ukraine’s Black Sea exports to resume.
US wheat prices rose on Friday, a day after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia saw no sign that it would receive the guarantees needed to revive the grain deal.
Erdogan has indicated sympathy with Putin’s position. In July, he said Putin had “certain expectations from Western countries” over the Black Sea deal and that it was “crucial for these countries to take action in this regard.”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently sent Lavrov “concrete proposals” aimed at getting Russian exports to global markets and allowing the resumption of the Black Sea initiative. But Lavrov said Moscow wasn’t satisfied with the letter.
Describing Turkey’s “intense” efforts to revive the agreement, Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said it was a “process that tries to better understand Russia’s position and requests, and to meet them.”
He added: “There are many issues ranging from financial transactions to insurance.”
US wheat prices rose on Friday, a day after Lavrov said Russia saw no sign that it would receive the guarantees needed to revive the grain deal.