Erdogan's Russia visit vital for grain deal, Turkish leader's chief aide says

NATO Summit in Vilnius

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin will focus on the Black Sea grain deal during their meeting on Monday as Turkey seeks to bring Moscow back to the deal, Erdogan's chief foreign policy advisor said.

"We play a leading role here. We see strong support from all around the world for the realisation of the grain corridor," Erdogan's chief foreign policy and security advisor Akif Cagatay Kilic told an interview on A Haber television channel.

"The current status (of the grain deal) will be discussed at the summit on Monday. We are cautious, but we hope to achieve success because this is a situation that affects the entire world," Kilic said.

Russian drones hit Danube River port infrastructure that is critical to Ukraine's grain exports, injuring at least two people in the attack on southern parts of the Odesa region on Sunday, Ukrainian officials said.

The Danube has become Ukraine's main route for exporting grain since July, when Russia quit a U.N. and Turkey-brokered deal that had given safe passage to Kyiv's exports of grains, oilseeds and vegetables oils via the Black Sea.

Ankara acknowledged the technical complexities surrounding the agreement, particularly concerning Russian grain and payment mechanisms, Kilic said. The issue also involves international payment systems such as SWIFT, posing a multifaceted challenge, Kilic added.

"Here, the decision of Russian leader is important. I believe that the bilateral meeting between President Erdogan and Putin will play the most important role in this issue."

(Reporting by Ece Toksabay, editing by David Evans)