Putin says Russia ‘open’ to grain deal negotiations at talks with Turkey’s Erdogan

1:21pm: Putin says Russia ‘open’ to grain deal talks ahead of meeting with Erdogan

President Vladimir Putin said Monday that Russia was “open” to talks on restoring the landmark Black Sea grain export deal as he met his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi.

“I know you intend to raise the issue of the grain deal. We are open to negotiations on this issue,” Putin said in televised comments alongside Erdogan.

12:47pm: Turkey’s Erdogan says message from Putin talks on grain corridor will be ‘very important’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Monday he would make a “very important” announcement on Ukrainian grain exports after his talks in Sochi with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

“I believe the message to be given at the press conference after our meeting will be very important to the world, especially to the underdeveloped African countries,” Erdogan said in opening remarks of his meeting with Putin.

Erdogan, who was flanked by a large delegation that included Turkey’s defence, foreign, energy and finance ministers, held his first face-to-face meeting with Putin since his re-election in May. 

Turkey has been trying to revive a UN-backed agreement that allowed for the safe passage of grain from three Ukrainian Black Sea ports.

Russia pulled out of the deal in July, and then started launching repeated air strikes against Ukrainian port infrastructure. 

12:38pm: Putin tells Erdogan Russia ‘open’ to talks on grain deal 

President Vladimir Putin told Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday that Russia was “open” to talks on restoring a grain deal that aimed to ensure safe navigation for cargo ships through the Black Sea.

“I know you intend to raise the issue of the grain deal. We are open to negotiations on this issue,” Putin said in televised comments alongside Erdogan.

12:10pm: Russian strikes along Danube negative sign ahead of grain talks with Turkey’s Erdogan

Russia carried out a “massive” drone attack on Ukraine’s Odesa region, officials said Monday, damaging a grain export hub on the Danube river. The attacks came just hours before a summit between President Vladimir Putin and Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan to discuss reviving Ukraine’s Black Sea grain export deal.

“Russia is obviously sending a big message” – one that does not bode well for the renewing the deal, said FRANCE 24’s International Affairs Commentator, Douglas Herbert.

Increasing Russian attacks along the Danube River – a route which Ukraine now relies upon for imports and exports – also risks bordering countries. Romania on Monday denied Ukrainian reports that Russian missiles had struck inside the country, which is a NATO member. “You can see how there is the potential for escalation both rhetorical and military,” Herbert added.

11:49am: Erdogan arrives in Russia for talks with Putin

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived Monday in Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi for talks with Vladimir Putin focused on reviving Ukraine’s grain export deal, Turkish state media reported.

Erdogan was accompanied by a large delegation that included Turkey’s defence, foreign, energy and finance ministers, the Anadolu state news agency said.

10:23am: Russia’s defence minister proposed joint navy drill to North Korea

Russia’s defence minister proposed a joint navy drill to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during their meeting earlier this year, news agency Yonhap reported on Monday, citing South Korea’s spy agency.

9:59am: Romania denies Ukrainian claim Russian drones hit its territory during Danube strike

Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesman said Russian drones fell and detonated on Romanian territory on Monday during an overnight attack on Ukrainian port infrastructure on the Danube river.

Romania is a member of the NATO military alliance. In a statement on Facebook, the official, Oleg Nikolenko, urged Western partners to speed up supplies of air defence systems to Ukraine.

Romania’s defence ministry on Monday denied reports that Russian drones fell and detonated on Romanian territory in the overnight attack on Ukrainian port infrastructure on the Danube river, a ministry spokesperson said.

The defence ministry said it had been monitoring “in real time the situation caused by the Russian drone attacks” and “categorically denies… Russian drones fell on the national territory of Romania”.

9:02am: Ukraine’s defence minister Reznikov submits resignation letter 

Ukrainian defence minister Oleksii Reznikov submitted his resignation letter to the chairman of parliament, he said in a post on X on Monday.

“I have submitted my letter of resignation to Ruslan Stefanchuk, Speaker of the Parliament of Ukraine. It was an honour to serve the Ukrainian people and work for the (Ukrainian army) for the last 22 months, the toughest period of Ukraine’s modern history,” Reznikov said in the post.

Zelensky said on Sunday he had decided to replace his wartime defence minister, the biggest shake-up of Ukraine’s defence establishment since Russia launched its full-scale invasion in February 2022.

8:58am: Ukraine claims limited gains on southern front, near Bakhmut

Ukraine said Monday its forces had made limited gains against Russian forces along the southern front – the focus of its counteroffensive – and clawed back territory near Bakhmut in the east.

“The defence forces of Ukraine are continuing offensive operations in the Melitopol sector. Our forces had success near Novodanylivka and Novoprokopivka,” Deputy Defence Minister Ganna Malyar said on state television, adding that Kyiv’s forces had also captured three square kilometres (around one square mile) near the war-battered town of Bakhmut.

8:56am: Kyiv police report fresh bomb threat in schools, colleges

Kyiv officials on Monday said that there had been a bomb threat against all the schools and colleges in the Ukrainian capital, after a similar threat last week.

“Kyiv police again received a report of a bomb threat in all schools and colleges in Kyiv,” Kyiv’s military administration said on social media, after the first day back at school on Friday was marred by a bomb threat that proved false.

6:56am: Ukraine forces down 17 drones in Odesa region, strikes damage buildings, govenor says

Ukrainian forces downed 17 Russian drones over the southern Odesa region, the local governor said Monday, adding that strikes caused damage in a district on the Danube river that borders Romania.

“17 drones were shot down by our air defense forces,” Oleg Kiper wrote on Telegram. “But, unfortunately, there are also hits. In several settlements of Izmail district, warehouses and production buildings, agricultural machinery and equipment of industrial enterprises were damaged.”

6:36am: Ukraine to replace defence minister Reznikov following corruption allegations

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday that defence minister Oleksii Reznikov will be replaced this week with Rustem Umerov, a Crimean Tatar lawmaker.

Zelensky made the announcement on his official Telegram account, writing that new leadership was needed. Later in his nightly address, Zelensky said he believes “that the Ministry needs new approaches and different formats of interaction both with the military and with society”.

Resnikov’s removal comes after a scandal around the ministry of defence’s procurement of military jackets. In August, Ukrainian investigative journalists reported that the materials were purchased at a price three times higher than normal and that instead of winter jackets, summer ones were ordered.

In the customs documents from the supplier, the jackets were priced at $29 per unit, but the ministry of defence paid $86 per unit. Reznikov denied the allegations during a news conference last week.

Umerov, 41, a politician with the opposition Holos party, has served as head of the State Property Fund of Ukraine since September 2022. He was involved in the exchange of prisoners of war, political prisoners, children and civilians, as well as the evacuation of civilians from occupied territories and was part of the Ukrainian delegation in negotiations with Russia over the UN-backed grain deal.

FRANCE 24’s Emmanuelle Chaze reports from Kyiv.

05:30am: Russia says destroyed 4 Ukrainian military boats carrying troops in Black Sea

Russia said on Monday it had destroyed four Ukrainian military boats carrying troops in the Black Sea.

“During the night of September 4, 2023, in the northwestern part of the Black Sea, naval aviation aircraft of the Black Sea Fleet destroyed 4 “Willard Sea Force” US-made high-speed military boats with landing groups of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, traveling in the direction of Cape Tarkhankut on the Crimean coast,” Russia’s defence ministry said on Telegram.

02:18am: Russia strikes Ukraine grain exporting port ahead of Putin-Erdogan talks

Russia launched an overnight air attack on one of Ukraine’s major grain exporting ports, Ukrainian officials said, hours before Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart, Tayyip Erdogan, are due to hold talks.

Ukraine’s air force urged residents of Izmail port, one of Ukraine’s two major grain-exporting ports on the Danube River in the Odesa region, to seek shelter after midnight on Monday.

Some Ukraine media reported the sound of blasts in the area.

Putin and Erdogan is to meet on Monday in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi as Ankara and the United Nations seek to revive a Ukraine grain export deal that helped ease a global food crisis. Ankara called the talks vital for the deal.

01:04am: Russia says downs two Ukraine-launched drones over Kursk region

Russia’s air defence systems shot down two Ukraine-launched drones over the Kursk region, Russia’s defence ministry said early on Monday on its Telegram messaging app.

The Kursk region, in Russia’s south, borders Ukraine to its west.

Reuters could not independently verify the report. There was no immediate comment from Ukraine. Kyiv almost never publicly claims responsibility for attacks inside Russia or on Russian-controlled territory in Ukraine.

  • Key developments from Sunday, September 3:

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and French President Emmanuel Macron spoke Sunday, discussing the “functioning” of a Black Sea corridor set up by Kyiv for the safe navigation of ships after Moscow exited a landmark grain deal. The news comes after Romania’s defence ministry strongly condemned repeated Russian attacks on Ukraine’s Danube River infrastructure close to its border.

Zelensky dismissed Kyiv’s defence minister Oleksiy Reznikov, and nominated Crimean Tatar politician Rustem Umerov to replace him as Kyiv’s defence minister, in a surprise move as the war with Russia enters its 19th month. 

Read yesterday’s live blog to see how the day’s events unfolded.

© France Médias Monde graphic studio

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)

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