July 7 () –
The President of Ukraine, Volodimir Zelenski, has arrived in Turkey at the end of what he himself has described as “a busy day” after stopping in just over 24 hours in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, with a view to discussing the agreement for export grain from Ukrainian ports and the NATO leaders’ summit that starts Monday in Lithuania.
Zelensky aspires to “coordinate positions” with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in what is his first visit to Turkey since the start of the Russian military offensive on Ukraine. The Ukrainian president carries under his arm his peace formula to resolve the conflict and the call to NATO to achieve “security guarantees.”
Turkey, together with the UN, has acted as a mediator in the agreement that facilitates the export of grain from the ports of southern Ukraine and which expires on July 18. The two parties have not yet announced a new extension of this pact, adopted almost a year ago and which has facilitated the departure of more than 32 million tons of cereals, which according to the United Nations has improved the global food supply and reduced prices.
Zelenski concludes a two-day tour in Turkey in which he has met with allies from Eastern Europe and in which he has defended that the Ukrainian struggle is also European. “What does it mean to be pro-Ukrainian? It means to be pro-European,” he argued after a meeting with the Slovak president, Zuzana Caputova. On the other hand, being in favor of the Russian theses implies assuming “a position in favor of terrorism,” in the words of Zelensky.
The Slovak authorities have used the visit to reaffirm their political and military support for Ukraine, with an agreement regarding arms and the commitment to help Kiev on its way to the EU and NATO. “Slovakia is helping us to bring peace closer,” Zelenski emphasized.
Caputova, for her part, stressed that this Friday marks precisely “500 days of Ukraine’s invincibility”, taking as a reference the day Russia began its invasion. These are days, according to Caputova, that “have shown that the great powers cannot always impose their will on the small ones” and that “those who undertake a fair defense can triumph.”