Russia and Ukraine have reportedly been negotiating with Turkey for two months to ensure safe transport in the Black Sea

Black Sea / Photo EPA / ERDEM SAHIN

Russia and Ukraine spent two months negotiating with Turkey on an agreement to provide safe transport in the Black Sea and reached an agreement on a text to be published by Ankara, but Ukraine suddenly backed out. This was reported by Turkish media referring to the Reuters agency, which also had a copy of the text of the agreement, which was never made public.

The talks were mediated by Turkey, which was encouraged by the United Nations, said four sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

The agreement was reached in March and was aimed at the safe navigation of merchant ships in the Black Sea. Although Ukraine did not want to formally sign it, Kiev agreed to let Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announce the deal on March 30 – a day before key local elections, the sources said.

"At the last moment, Ukraine suddenly backed out and the deal collapsed," said one of the sources, quoted by Reuters, Turkish media reported.

Three other sources supported that version of events. Russia, Ukraine and Turkey declined to comment, the news agency reported.

It remains unclear why Ukraine withdrew from the agreement. Sources told Reuters they did not know what prompted Kiev's decision.

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