RIYADH, June 1. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan have agreed that Ankara will try to help in demining Ukrainian ports, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said at a news conference on Wednesday, wrapping up his visit to Saudi Arabia.
"Following the conversation [Russian President Vladimir Putin held] with [Turkish] President [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan, it was agreed that Turkish counterparts would try to help organize the demining of Ukrainian ports so as to release from there the ships - which were taken hostage, in fact - with the cargoes needed in developing countries," Lavrov said.
The Russian foreign minister underscored that the demining operation should be conducted without any attempts to bolster Ukraine’s military potential or to harm Russia.
In their phone conversation on May 30, Putin and Erdogan talked about the situation in Ukraine, focusing on safe navigation in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov and the elimination of the mine threat in their waters. The Russian leader, as the Kremlin said, spoke about Moscow’s willingness to facilitate unimpeded maritime transit of goods in coordination with Turkey. The same refers to grain exports from Ukrainian ports.
Lavrov previously stated that the global food crisis had broken out long before the start of the special military operation in Ukraine and had been caused, among other factors, by the coronavirus pandemic and miscalculations of Western countries. However, Lavrov added that the current situation had aggravated the problem, while Western sanctions were one of the key reasons for food supply disruption, which exacerbated the crisis more.