Turkey sees “no other solution” other than Ukraine’s grain export deal with Russia, the Turkish foreign minister said today from Kiev, ruling out a possible other route the United States could consider.

“We know that other routes are being sought, but we see no alternative to the original agreement because of the risks,” Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan, who is visiting Kiev, told reporters.

Russia pulled out in mid-July from an agreement that allowed millions of tons of Ukrainian grain to be exported by sea, despite the war, for nearly a year.

In recent weeks, Moscow has carried out a series of drone attacks on port infrastructure in Odessa and Danube ports.

Ukraine is seeking partners to resume exports, including through the Black Sea, where it recently provoked Moscow with the voyage of a Hong Kong-flagged cargo ship that was not attacked by Russia despite its threats.

Kiev has also carried out several attacks on Russian ships in the Black Sea, including an oil tanker, and has in turn threatened ships bound for Russian ports and ports seized by Moscow.

Turkey has long played a mediating role between the two warring countries. Specifically, under the auspices of Ankara and the UN, the grain agreement was signed, from which Russia withdrew. However, relations with Moscow are strained after Ankara handed over to Ukraine commanders of the ultra-nationalist Azov order.

President Vladimir Putin nevertheless asked in early August for Turkey’s support for grain exports from Russia’s bumper harvest, deliveries of which are being hampered by Western sanctions.