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Zelensky, Erdoğan discuss Russian theft of Ukrainian grain, ZNPP issue, defense cooperation

KYIV. Aug 18 (Interfax-Ukraine) – President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky held a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is on a visit to Ukraine, during which he discussed defense cooperation, Russia’s nuclear blackmail and the issue of grain exports from Ukraine.

As reported on the presidential website, the presidents gave a positive assessment of the implementation of the grain export initiative. Zelensky noted the leading role of Turkey and Erdoğan personally in the fact that this initiative was launched and is being implemented, and noted that it helps to overcome the global food crisis. The leaders discussed the possibility of improving the initiative, strengthening the security of its implementation, and increasing the volume of relevant exports.

Zelensky and Erdoğan also considered the issue of large-scale theft of grain by Russia in the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine. In particular, it was pointed out that the invaders appropriated almost 500,000 tonnes of grain. The leaders agreed that any trade in stolen goods was unacceptable. "Russia’s attempts to sell stolen goods must be stopped," Zelensky said.

The leaders also discussed the situation around Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in Enerhodar, Zaporizhia region, and Russia’s nuclear blackmail, whose actions threaten catastrophe for Ukraine and the whole world. Zelensky said Russian nuclear blackmail at Zaporizhia NPP is one of the biggest risks that Russia’s war against Ukraine has created, and the mission and responsibility of each country should be a tough and consistent response to any manifestations of nuclear blackmail in order to stop it.

"Russia must withdraw its troops from the station immediately," the President of Ukraine said.

In addition, the leaders touched upon issues of defense cooperation and discussed the prospects for cooperation in this area.

Zelensky expressed hope for the participation of the President of Turkey in the second summit of the Crimea platform.