Russia’s Putin to visit Turkey, Egypt in February

Russia’s Putin to visit Turkey, Egypt in February

MOSCOW (Reuters): Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit NATO member Turkey to meet President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Feb. 12, a Turkish official said on Wednesday.

Putin’s visit will be his first to a NATO member since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Putin’s scope to travel abroad has been limited since March last year when the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant against him for the alleged deportation of Ukrainian children to Russia, a war crime. Russia denied the charge and called the move outrageous, but said it was legally void in any case because Russia is not a member of the ICC.

Turkey is also not a party to the Rome Statute of the ICC, so Putin can travel to Turkey without fear of being arrested under the warrant.

Turkey has sought to maintain good relations with both Moscow and Kyiv since Russia invaded Ukraine. It has provided military support to Ukraine and voiced support for its territorial integrity, but also opposes sanctions on Russia in principle.

Ankara is seeking to convince Russia to return to the so-called Black Sea Grain Initiative after Moscow withdrew last July, ending a year of protected exports from Ukrainian ports amid the war. Erdogan said alternatives to the deal could not provide a lasting solution.

Separately, Erdogan will travel to Egypt on Feb. 14, the official said, after the two countries upgraded their diplomatic relations by appointing ambassadors last year following a decade of tension.