At their meeting in the Russian seaside resort of Sochi, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan agreed on increased cooperation on economic and energy issues. This was announced by the Kremlin on Friday evening. Accordingly, both sides agreed on increased trade exchanges “despite the current regional and global challenges”.

According to the Interfax agency, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak also stated that Turkey would in future pay for part of the gas supplies from Russia in rubles.

In a joint statement, Putin and Erdogan also announced that both countries would work together to fight terrorist organizations in Syria and expand trade and economic cooperation.

The talks between the two heads of state lasted four hours, according to the Turkish presidential palace. This was also confirmed by Putin’s spokesman Dmitri Peskov of the Russian state news agency Tass. A press conference was initially not planned, but Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Nowak wanted to report on the results for the Russian side later in the evening.

“Now the world is looking at Sochi again,” Erdogan said at the beginning of the meeting. “I believe that (today’s meeting) will open a whole new page in Turkish-Russian relations.” However, the two heads of state kept to themselves for the time being whether concrete results had been achieved and if so which ones.

Both countries announced in advance that the meeting should deal with current regional and global events. It was expected that, in addition to the Ukraine war, the situation in Syria and possibly cooperation with Turkish combat drones would also be discussed.

It is the second face-to-face meeting between the two heads of state within a month. This is particularly remarkable in Putin’s case, since the Kremlin boss, who is increasingly isolated in the world, only conducts many of his conversations on the phone or via video link.

Ankara maintains close ties with both Moscow and Kyiv. Erdogan has sharply criticized Russia’s invasion, but has always emphasized that he does not want to give up any of his partners.

Before the talks began, Putin praised his guest for Turkey’s mediation in the grain crisis – and in particular alluded to the additional declaration of intent with the UN, which is intended to promote the export of Russian food and fertilizers.