Putin, Erdogan to Discuss Ukrainian Grain Export Deal

Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived Tuesday in the Iranian capital, Tehran, where he was due to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and discuss an agreement to resume grain exports from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports.

U.N. spokesman Farhan Haq told reporters Monday there has been incremental progress with the negotiations between Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations, “but nothing to announce at this stage.” He said Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is ready to travel to Istanbul if need be.

Guterres spoke on the phone Monday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to discuss the ongoing negotiations, according to the United Nations.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called Tuesday for a price cap on Russian oil exports while urging countries to unite in opposition to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Yellen said “economic integration has been weaponized by Russia,” adding that Russia has threatened to spark a global food crisis by blocking Ukrainian ports.

“All responsible countries must unite in opposition to this war and work together to end it swiftly,” Yellen said. “And that’s why the United States and other responsible allies and partners are seeking to reduce Russia’s revenue to wage its war without causing a necessary volatility in global energy markets.”

Ukraine’s military said Tuesday Russian attacks continued in multiple parts of the country, including shelling in Sumy, as well as blasts in Mykolaiv and a missile strike in Odesa.

Britain’s defense ministry said Russia “may still make further territorial gains” as it pursues its state goal of taking control of all of Donetsk province in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region. But the ministry said in its daily assessment Tuesday that Russia’s “rate of advance is likely to be very slow without a significant operational pause for reorganization and refit” of its forces.

In Washington, Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska is due to meet with U.S. first lady Jill Biden at The White House, a day after meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

A statement released by the State Department Monday night said “Secretary Blinken commended First Lady Zelenska’s work to help Ukrainians impacted by the war.”

Blinken “reiterated that the United States will continue to provide assistance to help Ukraine respond to the significant economic and humanitarian challenges it faces, including supporting the First Lady’s mental health initiative for citizens affected by the war,” the statement said.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said Blinken assured Zelenska of U.S. support of Ukraine and commended the first lady for her work helping civilians traumatized by the war.

Some information for this report came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.

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