ISTANBUL (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit Turkey soon, the Turkish foreign minister said late Sunday. It would be Putin's first trip to a NATO country since Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine two years ago.
Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan told the A Haber private TV channel that Putin's meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will focus on a new way to allow Ukrainian grain exports through the Black Sea.
He did not mention a date for the visit, but Turkish media has reported that Putin will come on Feb. 12.
The International Criminal Court last year issued an arrest warrant against Putin over the alleged deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia, greatly limiting his opportunity to travel abroad. Turkey, like Russia, is not a party to the court, allowing Putin to visit without fear of arrest.
Turkey has sought to maintain good ties with both Russia and Ukraine, its Black Sea neighbors. While declining to join Western sanctions on Moscow, it has also backed Ukraine's territorial integrity and provided arms to Kyiv.
"The previous grain deal worked within a certain mechanism. Now it has been seen that there is a possibility of going with a different mechanism," Fidan said, referring to the previous deal that lasted a year before Russia withdrew in July. At the time, Russia said the deal would be suspended until demands to get Russian food and fertilizer to the world are met.
Turkey helped the United Nations broker that accord to provide safe passage from Ukrainian ports.
Fidan said Erdogan would also discuss with Putin security in Syria and energy cooperation.