Turkish foreign minister in Moscow for talks on Black Sea grain deal

Turkish foreign minister in Moscow for talks on Black Sea grain deal

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan will begin a two-day visit to Moscow starting Thursday with the Black Sea grain deal on top of the agenda, Russia’s foreign ministry announced on Wednesday. Turkey had helped to broker the original deal which had enabled Ukraine to export grain from its Black Sea ports until Russia pulled out in July. Follow our live blog for all the latest developments on the war in Ukraine. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).

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6:58am: Turkish foreign minister to discuss grain initiative on Russia visit

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will host his Turkish counterpart Hakan Fidan for a two-day visit beginning Thursday, Moscow announced on Wednesday, after Ankara’s top diplomat held talks with Ukrainian officials last week.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova says that one of the items on the agenda will be the Black Sea grain deal. 

Russia pulled out of the Turkish-brokered deal, which had enabled Ukraine to export grain from its Black Sea ports, in July.

6:37am: Russia downs drone heading for Moscow, says mayor

Russian air defences destroyed a drone approaching Moscow, the city’s mayor said on Thursday.

Air defence forces in the Voskresensky district, about 60 kilometres (35 miles) from the capital, “destroyed a drone flying towards Moscow,” mayor Sergei Sobyanin wrote on Telegram.

He did not say where the drone had come from.

Russia’s defence ministry said in a later statement that the drone was Ukrainian.

There were no casualties or damage, according to initial reports, and emergency services were on the scene, Sobyanin said.

00:33am: Russia says it thwarted new Ukrainian attacks after planes hit at airfield

Russian officials said on Wednesday that they had thwarted new Ukrainian attacks a day after Ukrainian drones struck targets in at least six regions deep within Russia in one of the broadest volleys yet of Kyiv’s campaign to turn the tables on Moscow. One of the drone strikes, targeting an airfield far from Ukraine’s borders, destroyed military transport planes.

11:45pm: White House says Putin and Kim Jong Un traded letters as Russia looks for munitions from North Korea

The White House on Wednesday said that it has new intelligence that shows Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have swapped letters as Russia looks to North Korea for munitions for the war in Ukraine. 

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby detailed the latest finding just weeks after the White House said that it had determined that Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu during a recent visit to Pyongyang called on North Korean officials to increase the sale if munitions to Moscow for its Ukraine war.

Kirby said that Russia is looking for additional artillery shells and other basic materiel to shore up its defense industrial base.

He added that the letters were “more at the surface level” but that Russian and North Korean talks on a weapons sale were advancing. The leaders exchanged the letters following Shoigu’s visit, he said.

Key developments from Wednesday, August 30:

More than 20 drones and missiles were destroyed by air defences over Kyiv, the city’s military administration said on Wednesday, describing the barrage as the “most powerful strike” on the capital since the spring.

The Kremlin on Wednesday said that the investigation into the plane crash that killed Wagner Group leader Yevgeny Prigozhin last week was a Russian effort, and that there could be no question of an international investigation. The Kremlin has said Russian investigators are probing all possible scenarios surrounding the death last week of Wagner chief Yevgeny Prigozhin in a plane crash, including premeditated murder.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said the capture of Robotyne by Kyiv’s forces this week will allow them to more easily push further south towards Crimea, according to an address published Wednesday.

Read yesterday’s liveblog to see how the day’s events unfolded.

© France Médias Monde graphic studio

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)