Wednesday, 25 May, 2022

Scholz tells Putin Russia responsible for global food supply crunch

BERLIN: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday that Moscow bore a "responsibility" for disruptions in the global food supply due to its invasion of Ukraine, Berlin said.

"The chancellor and the Russian president also spoke about the global food situation which is particularly strained due to Russia's war of aggression," Scholz's office said in a statement after a 75-minute call between the leaders, reports AFP.

"The chancellor reminded him that Russia bears a particular responsibility here."

Before the invasion, Ukraine was seen as the world's bread basket, exporting 4.5 million tonnes of agricultural produce per month through its ports -- 12 percent of the planet's wheat, 15 percent of its corn and half of its sunflower oil.

But with the ports of Odessa, Chornomorsk and others cut off from the world by Russian warships, the supply can only travel on congested land routes that are much less efficient.

Scholz said the conversation with Putin Friday morning, following a call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday, was focused on "the war in Ukraine and efforts to end it".

He urged Putin "given the gravity of the military situation and the consequences of the war in Ukraine, especially in Mariupol" to bring about a "ceasefire as soon as possible to improve the humanitarian situation and make progress in the search for a diplomatic solution to the conflict".

Scholz also "firmly rejected" Moscow's accusation "that Nazism is widespread in Ukraine".