In an attempt to save the Black Sea grain deal, Putin and Erdogan hold a meeting, while Ukrainian sea ports face consecutive nights of aerial attacks by Russian drones.

Title: Russia Launches Drone Attacks on Ukraine Ports as Erdogan and Putin Seek to Revive Black Sea Grain Deal

Introduction:
In a significant escalation of tensions, Russian Federation forces have carried out a series of drone attacks on ports in the Odessa region of Ukraine. These attacks targeted fuel and grain depots, causing substantial damage. The timing of these strikes is particularly noteworthy, as Turkish President Erdogan and Russian President Putin were scheduled to meet to discuss the revival of the Black Sea grain deal. The attacks underscore the complexities of the geopolitical landscape, with Russia aiming to assert its dominance in the region while negotiating new trade agreements.

Major Drone Attacks on Ukrainian Ports:
The ports along the Danube River, including Reni and others in the Odessa region, were heavily targeted in a swarm of Geranium (Shahed) drone attacks. These ports have become crucial waypoints for Ukraine’s wheat exports since July. The assaults, which lasted for nearly four hours, resulted in significant damage. According to reports, at least 25 Iranian-made Shahed drones were used in the attack. The Russian officials claimed that the drones set ablaze fuel stockpiles used by Ukrainian military forces. The severity of the attacks further hampers Ukraine’s ability to export its grain through the Black Sea.

Unfulfilled Black Sea Grain Deal:
The Black Sea grain deal, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey, allowed for safe grain exports through the region. However, Russia withdrew from the agreement due to unmet expectations related to its own exports of food and fertilizer. The deal was intended to support the removal of obstacles hindering Moscow’s food trade. Russia’s decision to abandon the agreement created a crisis for Ukraine, as it heavily relies on grain exports. These attacks on the Ukrainian ports highlight the deepening tensions over the unfulfilled agreements and the impact it has on the region’s food security.

Understanding Erdogan’s Position:
Turkish President Erdogan has shown an understanding of Putin’s stance regarding the Black Sea deal. He previously acknowledged that Putin had expectancies from Western countries, emphasizing the need for action on their part. Erdogan’s recognition of Putin’s concerns indicates his willingness to cooperate and potentially influence Western countries to honor their commitments under the deal. The upcoming meeting between Erdogan and Putin in Sochi is expected to provide an opportunity to discuss the revival of the grain trade agreement and address the challenges that have led to its disruption.

Close Ties Between Erdogan and Putin:
Despite their differing positions concerning Ukraine, Erdogan and Putin have maintained close ties throughout the 18-month-long war. Turkey has refrained from joining Western sanctions against Russia, emerging as a key trading partner and logistical hub for Russia’s overseas trade. Erdogan’s repeated pledges to renew the arrangements benefiting regions in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia indicate his commitment to resolving the food crisis caused by the interrupted grain trade. The meeting between Erdogan and Putin in Sochi carries potential implications for their ongoing relationship and regional stability.

Turkey’s Role in the Ukrainian Conflict:
As a member of NATO, Turkey’s support for Ukraine, including supplying weapons and backing Kiev’s bid to join the alliance, adds complexity to its relationship with Russia. While maintaining close ties with Moscow, Erdogan’s engagement in the conflict demonstrates Turkey’s multifaceted involvement and its strategic efforts to navigate a delicate balance between supporting Ukraine and maintaining relations with Russia. This stance showcases Turkey’s influence in the region and its intention to protect its interests.

Conclusion:
The recent drone attacks on Ukrainian ports by Russian forces signify a significant escalation in tensions in the region. In targeting fuel and grain depots, Russia aims to assert its dominance and influence negotiations surrounding the Black Sea grain deal. The unfulfilled agreement has created difficulties for Ukraine’s grain exports and caused a food crisis in parts of Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. The meeting between Erdogan and Putin presents an opportunity to address these challenges and revive the trade agreement. However, the complexities of Turkey’s involvement in the conflict as a NATO member and its close ties with Russia add further layers to the negotiations. The outcome of these discussions will have significant implications for the region’s stability and geopolitics moving forward.