Moscow will help “overcome the food crisis” if sanctions are lifted

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that he is ready to help “overcome the food crisis” caused by the suspension of Ukrainian and Russian grain production due to the ongoing conflict, while lifting sanctions against Moscow.

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Putin, according to a statement issued by the Kremlin, during a telephone conversation, said that Russia is “ready to make a significant contribution to overcoming the food crisis through the export of grain and fertilizer, subject to the lifting of politically motivated restrictions by the West.” With Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

This invitation was initiated by Mr. Draghi.

Putin stressed that Western accusations that Moscow, since its attack on Ukraine, has blocked Ukraine’s grain exports are “baseless.”

“The difficulties that have arisen are related, among other things, to disruptions in the performance of production and logistics chains, as well as to the financial policy of Western countries during the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.

“The situation has worsened due to the anti-Russian restrictions imposed by the United States and the European Union,” he said, referring to the unprecedented rounds of sanctions that have hit Russia.

Ukraine, a major exporter of grains, especially corn and wheat, is seeing production halted due to the fighting.

For its part, Russia, another power in the field of grain, cannot sell its production and fertilizers due to Western sanctions affecting the financial and logistical sectors. Countries produce a third of the world’s wheat.

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Vladimir Putin also informed Mr. Draghi of “the ongoing work to establish a peaceful life in the liberated cities of Donbass” and that the peace process was “frozen by Kyiv”.

For his part, Mario Draghi declared during a press conference that “the purpose of this phone call is to ask if something can be done to cancel the wheat ban that is today in deposits in Ukraine.”

He suggested “cooperation between Russia and Ukraine in opening the ports of the Black Sea” where this wheat is at risk of rotting “on the one hand to purify these ports and on the other hand to ensure their presence there. There are no skirmishes during mine clearance.”

Mr. Draghi noted that on the Russian side there was “a willingness to continue in this direction”, and that he would contact Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “to see if there is a similar will”.

“When people ask me if I have seen any glimmer of hope for peace, the answer is no,” however, concluded the Italian prime minister.

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About the Author: Hermínio Guimarães

"Introvertido premiado. Viciado em mídia social sutilmente charmoso. Praticante de zumbis. Aficionado por música irritantemente humilde."

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