Turkey's Erdogan says West pursues 'provocation' policy
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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told a press conference with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade on Wednesday that the West’s “provocative” policies towards Russia were fueling the conflict in Ukraine. President Erdogan made the remarks after the European Union and Group of Seven nations proposed a price cap on Russian gas.
President Erdogan told the press conference: “No need to list the names but I can clearly say that I do not find the stance that the West is adopting is correct.
“Because there is a West that is leading a policy based on provocation, it will not be possible to achieve a result there.”
It comes as Putin mooted on Wednesday reopening a UN-brokered deal for Ukrainian grain exports via the Black Sea and threatened to halt all energy supplies to Europe if Brussels caps the price of Russian gas.
In a combative speech to an economic forum in Russia’s Far East region, Putin also said that Russia would not lose its war in Ukraine and had strengthened its sovereignty.
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Ukraine remained guarded about its counter-offensive in the east but warned that Russia could turn to nuclear weapons and other nations could be drawn into a protracted “Third World War.”
The grain pact, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey, created a protected corridor after Kyiv lost access to its main export route when Russia attacked via land, air and sea.
Designed to help ease global food prices by increasing supplies, the pact has been the only diplomatic breakthrough between Moscow and Kyiv in more than six months of war.
But Putin said the accord was delivering grain, fertiliser and other food to the European Union and Turkey rather than to poor countries.
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“It may be worth considering how to limit the export of grain and other food along this route,” he said, adding that Russia would continue to abide by its terms, hoping it would fulfil its original goals.
“I will definitely consult the President of Turkey, Mr Erdogan, on this topic because it was he and I who worked out a mechanism for the export of Ukrainian grain first of all, I repeat, in order to help the poorest countries.”
Ukraine, whose ports had been blockaded by Russia, said the terms signed on July 22 were being strictly observed and there were no grounds for renegotiation.
“Such unexpected and groundless statements rather indicate an attempt to find new aggressive talking points to influence global public opinion and, above all, put pressure on the United Nations,” said Mykhailo Podolyak, a presidential adviser.
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The deal gave Kyiv much-needed revenue for an economy devastated by war. It does not stipulate which countries Ukrainian grain should go to, and the United Nations has stressed it is a commercial – not humanitarian – operation.
According to data from the Istanbul-based coordination group which monitors the deal, 30 percent of cargo, which includes that earmarked for or routed via Turkey, had gone to low and lower-middle income countries.
The other main global repercussion of the conflict has been a surge in energy prices as the West responded with sanctions and Moscow restricted exports of gas to Europe, blaming Western restrictions and technical problems.
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