Boris holds urgent talks with Erdogan on Black Sea crisis as UK sends Turkey NATO warning

Expert: Turkey will eventually lift NATO 'blockade'

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The Prime Minister spoke with Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday about Russia’s blockade of Ukraine exports from the Black Sea. However, Mr Johnson also told Mr Erdoğan the UK stands behind Finland and Sweden’s plans to join NATO, despite Turkey’s opposition to the countries joining the military bloc. 

A statement published by the Government said: “The Prime Minister spoke to the President of Türkiye, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, today to discuss global food security and defence and economic cooperation.

“The Prime Minister updated President Erdoğan on his recent visit to Kyiv, and the leaders agreed on the importance of ending Russia’s war of aggression and restoring Ukrainian sovereignty.

“They continued discussions on international efforts to urgently end Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian grain exports, which is hitting developing countries particularly hard. 

“The Prime Minister welcomed Türkiye’s ongoing leadership on this issue and commitment to keep Black Sea trade routes open.”

Last week, the Ukrainian Navy claimed it struck the Russian Navy Project 22870 salvage tugboat Spasatel Vasily Bekh ( SB 739) in a missile strike in the Black Sea.

In a statement on its official Twitter acount on June 17, the Ukrainian Navy said the vessel was attacked while transporting personnel, weapons, and ammunition to the Zmiinyi (Snake) Island with a Tor surface-to-air missile system on board.

Based on the preliminary data available, 70 percent of the vessel’s crew were affected and the fate of the rest is unknown, as Russian vessels attempted to conduct a search-and-rescue operation, the Southern Operational Command of Ukraine’s Ground Forces stated on its Facebook page the same day.

The UK’s statement continued: “Looking ahead to next week’s NATO Summit, the Prime Minister reiterated the UK’s support for Sweden and Finland’s accession to the Alliance and agreed with President Erdoğan that all parties would continue to work together to find a path forward.

“The leaders also welcomed increased defence and security cooperation between the UK and Türkiye and raised new opportunities to deepen that partnership. 

“They looked forward to continuing their discussions in Madrid next week.”

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