Putin meets Iran and Turkey in Tehran amid deadly war in Ukraine
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Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Iran on Tuesday to hold meetings with leaders of the region’s top players as he seeks to shore up relations amid his war in Ukraine.
After meeting Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Putin is due to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan when talks on a range of issues from the war in Syria to a blockade of Moscow’s Black Sea exports are expected.
Tuesday’s trip is just his second international adventure since invading Ukraine in February and comes as Western officials warn that Moscow and Tehran are strengthening ties.
WHITE HOUSE ACCUSES IRAN OF GIVING ‘SEVERAL HUNDREDS’ OF DRONES TO RUSSIA
The White House announced last week that it had reason to believe Tehran was sponsoring Putin’s war in Ukraine by supplying him with sophisticated drones amid a backlog of Russian arms supplies under heavy international sanctions.
White House security adviser Jake Sullivan said the United States had received information indicating that Tehran was offering “several hundred” unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), including weapons-capable UAVs, in Moscow “on an expedited schedule” – a move that could prompt further international sanctions.
Fox News Digital could not reach the State Department about whether US or NATO allies would target Iran in sanctions for appearing to help Russia’s war effort, though The move comes as Western talks have stalled to strike a nuclear deal with Tehran.
However, as Putin seeks to solidify an alliance with Iran amid its war in Ukraine – which has isolated Russia economically and diplomatically – he is also set to engage with Erdogan on the issue of the food crisis. world.
PRELIMINARY AGREEMENT CONCLUDED BETWEEN RUSSIA AND UKRAINE ON FOOD EXPORTS, 3 PORTS OPENED
Turkey, which is a member of NATO, has led the way by hosting negotiations between Russia, Ukraine and the United Nations aimed at lifting the naval blockade in the Black Sea and ensuring that grain and other food products such as cooking oil can be exported.
Authorities have been sounding the alarm for months that Russian forces off the coast of Ukraine have blocked the export of some 20 million tonnes of grain and led to food shortages felt around the world.
Last week, a preliminary agreement was reached between Russian, Ukrainian, Turkish and UN authorities that would open merchant shipping lanes in the Black Sea.
However, Putin still has to sign the deal before a ceasefire can be agreed to by the Russians, which would allow Ukrainian naval forces to escort merchant ships through mine-infested waters.
Turkey has carefully toed the line when it comes to Russia’s war in Ukraine by refusing to sanction Moscow but simultaneously providing Ukraine with defense aid like drones.
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Putin’s visit comes just a week after President Biden toured the Middle East and met with Saudi and Israeli leaders in a bid to encourage regional players, particularly in the Gulf, to distance themselves from the Russia.
Pressure to encourage Middle Eastern countries to further isolate Russia could prove difficult given Russia’s involvement in the war in Syria, military support for Turkey and membership in OPEC More and his relationships with members of the oil cartel.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.