Tuesday, 5 July, 2022

Russia ‘ready’ to help with shipping grain from Ukraine

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday told the leaders of France and Germany Moscow was “ready” to look for ways to ship grain stuck in Ukrainian ports but demanded the West lift sanctions, reports AFP.

The Kremlin chief also warned French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz against ramping up arms supplies to Ukraine, saying they could further destabilise the situation in the pro-Western country. Putin said the difficulties in supplying grain to world markets were the result of “erroneous economic and financial policies of Western countries”.

“Russia is ready to help find options for the unhindered export of grain, including the export of Ukrainian grain from the Black Sea ports,” Putin told Macron and Scholz, the Kremlin said.

“An increase in the supply of Russian fertilisers and agricultural products will also help reduce tensions on the global food market, which, of course, will require the removal of the relevant sanctions.”

Russia’s offensive in Ukraine and Western sanctions have disrupted supplies of fertiliser, wheat and other commodities from the two countries, fuelling concerns about the risk of hunger around the world.

Russia and Ukraine produce 30 percent of the global wheat supply.

The West has accused Putin of using hunger as a weapon in Moscow’s offensive against Ukraine.