The most senior Russian official to visit the European Union since the start of the war is negotiating in Hungary on a potential new Black Sea grain deal that excludes Ukraine.

Rustam Minnikhanov, the head of the Russian region of Tatarstan, supports Russia's invasion of Ukraine and is under US sanctions, but not the EU.

"Arrived today at the invitation of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Budapest!" - said Minnikhanov. "We talked with Mr. Prime Minister about Tatarstan's contribution to strengthening Russian-Hungarian relations."

It is reported that Minnikhanov insists on signing an agreement with Qatar and Turkey, which will accelerate grain exports to Africa.

The UN agreement allowing grain exports from Ukraine collapsed in July. Vladimir Putin said that Russia can cover the deficit of exports to Africa and, as part of the potential Budapest deal, will use Turkey as the main operator of cargo ships and Qatar as a financial guarantor.

Ukrainian officials have said that any grain deal excluding Kiev would encourage Russia to steal more grain from the occupied territories of Ukraine.

Mr. Orban opposes EU sanctions against Russia and is considered a weak link in the West that the Kremlin can take advantage of. He is the only EU leader who visited Moscow during the war for the funeral of former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.

Hungary is still buying Russian gas, and its companies say they want to develop business in Russia.

Hungary has Turkic roots and strives to develop relations with Turkic countries and regions, such as Tatarstan. Mr. Orban is also hosting the leaders of the Turkic countries over the weekend, as the country hosts the World Athletics Championships.

The German newspaper Bild reported that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Qatar's leader Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani were also due to arrive in Budapest on Sunday and may sign a new grain agreement with Mr. Minnikhanov, who actually acts as Putin's envoy.

Leave a review

In World

Follow us on social networks

News Line