Vladimir Putin says Russia is ready to help overcome global food crisis if West lifts sanctions
Moscow is ready to make a “significant contribution” to averting a looming food crisis if the West lifts Russia’s sanctions on Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin said in a phone call with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.
“Vladimir Putin stresses that the Russian Federation is ready to make a significant contribution to overcoming the food crisis through the export of grain and fertilizers, subject to the lifting of restrictions politically motivated by the West,” the official said. Kremlin in a statement following the call. .
He added that Putin also referred to the “measures taken to ensure the safety of navigation, including the daily opening of humanitarian corridors for the exit of civilian ships from the ports of Azov and the Black Sea, which is hampered by the Ukrainian side”.
Putin also called “baseless” accusations that Russia was responsible for food supply problems on the world market.
Draghi told a press conference that “the purpose of this phone call was to ask if anything could be done to unblock the wheat that is currently in the deposits in Ukraine.”
He suggested “a collaboration between Russia and Ukraine on the unblocking of the Black Sea ports” where the wheat is, which is in danger of rotting – “on the one hand to clear these ports and on the other hand to s ensure that there are no clashes during the clearance”.
Draghi said there was “a will to continue in this direction” on the Russian side, and that he would call Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “to see if there is a similar will.”
“When people ask me if I have seen a glimmer of hope for peace, the answer is no,” said the Italian Prime Minister.
Russia has been hit with unprecedented sanctions after Putin ordered the dispatch of troops to neighboring Ukraine on February 24.
Sanctions and military action have cut off the supply of fertilizers, wheat and other basic products from Russia and Ukraine.
The two countries produce 30 percent of the world’s wheat supply.
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