Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy held a telephonic conversation with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday. According to Zelenskyy, both had extensive talks on the unblocking of Ukrainian ports as well as the resumption of grain export from the war-torn nation. Further, he maintained that Erdogan condoled the deaths of those killed in the brutal aggression of Russian forces. The telephonic conversation between the two leaders came nearly hours after Erdogan held a similar conversation with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

“Held talks with President @RTErdogan. Thanked for condolences over new civilian victims of the Russian aggression. We appreciate Turkey’s support. Discussed the importance of unblocking Ukrainian ports and resuming grain exports. We must also prevent Russia from taking our grain from TOT,” Zelenskyy wrote on Twitter.

According to the latest development, the first eight foreign ships arrived at the ports of Ukraine. According to the Ukraine Naval Forces, the vessels will carry Ukrainian agricultural products through the mouth of the “Bystraya” ship passage of the Danube River to the Black Sea. Meanwhile, citing the Turkish presidential administration, TASS News agency reported that Erdogan underscored that peace in Ukraine is Turkey’s “biggest desire.”

Also, the Turkish head said that Ankara continues working on the UN plan on the export of grain from Ukraine. He noted that transporting grain products through the Black Sea and Azov Sea ports – which are currently blocked by the Russian forces – to the international market by passing through the straits would be the most reasonable and feasible option, both economically and physically. “When these grain products pass through the Black Sea and the straits, they will also play a key role in preventing the world food crisis,” he said.

US rejects Russia’s proposal of freeing Ukrainian ports in exchange for lifting sanctions

Notably, major seaports have been blocked in Ukraine since the initial days of the war. Since then, Ukraine has been exporting grains to the whole world by alternate routes. Earlier in May, the Russian Foreign Ministry said it would be ready to provide a humanitarian corridor to export Ukrainian crops across the Black Sea in exchange for lifting sanctions. However, the United States rejected Moscow’s proposal of unblocking Ukrainian ports.

Earlier last month, the World Food Programme said up to 20 million people along the Horn of Africa are facing severe hunger. Though the WFP noted the condition was not good even before Russian President Vladimir Putin initiated a brutal war against Ukraine, it stated that the situation has worsened as the major port that supplies agricultural products to the whole world remained blocked by Russian troops.

Image: AP