Blinken made evaluations about Turkey’s role in the Black Sea grain initiative and the latest situation in the Russia-Ukraine War at the ongoing Aspen Security Forum in Colorado.
Upon a question, Blinken said, “Turkey was instrumental in bringing the initiative to life from scratch, working closely with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in the first place. He did a great job of getting it off the ground.”
“Therefore, we expect Turkey to take a leadership role in getting this business back on track so that people around the world can get the food they need at reasonable prices, as it has done before,” Blinken said.
Referring to Turkey’s struggle to maintain this initiative during the periods when Russia backed down from the grain initiative, the US Secretary of State also mentioned that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin to return Russia to the grain agreement.
“I see zero evidence that Russia is interested in peace”
Blinken stated that Russia continues to bomb the Ukrainian port of Odessa and expressed the opinion that the Kremlin is willing to continue the war.
“If we see any evidence that Russia is interested in meaningful peace talks, we’ll be the first to jump on it. Unfortunately I see zero evidence that Russia is interested (peace), and that’s the main problem,” Blinken said.
Blinken said that Putin “continues to believe that he can continue to fight longer than Ukraine and that Ukraine can outlast all its supporters”, adding that it is “vital” to discourage Russia from this idea.
Pointing to the tension between Yevgeny Prigojin, the founder of the Russian private security company Wagner, and Putin, the Foreign Minister said, “If I were Mr. Prigojin, I would be very worried. NATO has an open doors policy, Russia has an open windows policy.”