Russian President Vladimir Putin.
© Sputnik/Mikhail Metzel
Moscow is ready
sanctions make it impossible,
president has said...
The restrictions imposed by the US and its allies against Russia and
Belarus will only exacerbate the looming global food crisis by
affecting the fertilizer trade and sending food prices even higher,
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.
In a special TV
interview on Friday evening
meeting with African Union head
Macky Sall in Sochi, Putin accused Western leaders of trying,
"to shift the
responsibility for what is happening in the world food market."
The root causes of the
lie with US
financial policies during the
and Western Europe's over-reliance on renewables and short-term
gas contracts, which have led to price hikes and rising
inflation, Putin has said.
situation on the world's food market did not begin to take shape
yesterday, or even from the moment Russia launched the special
military operation in the Donbass and Ukraine.
"It began to take
shape as early as February 2020 in the process of combating
the consequences of the coronavirus 'pandemic'," he added.
High gas prices, which
came as a result of under-investment in the traditional energy
sector, have forced many fertilizer producers to shut down their
businesses because of unprofitability, the Russian president argued.
Such developments have
shrunk the fertilizer supply, which, in turn, has pushed food prices
higher, he added.
Yet, instead of
taking any real steps to remedy the situation, Western nations
just pin the blame on Moscow, Putin has said.
The Russian president has
dismissed all claims that Moscow is preventing Ukrainian grain from
being exported to other nations as a "bluff."
He also said that Russia
was ready to increase its own grain export up to 50 million tons.
Putin pointed to the fact that there are several ways to safely
transport the grain from Ukrainian territory, including through
Poland and Hungary.
He also said that Russian
forces are about to finish demining the areas of the Black Sea it
controls in order to facilitate the safe passage of goods through
the Azov and Black Seas.
We are not preventing
Ukrainian grain from being exported. It can be moved through the
ports controlled by Ukraine. We are not the ones who mined these
ports. Ukraine did.
I have said many
let them demine
and let the ships with grain leave.
We guarantee their
passage with no problems.
The Russian leader has
also called the Belarus transport route "the cheapest way" of
getting Ukrainian grain to customers around the world.
However, using it
would require that Western nations lift the sanctions they
imposed against Minsk, he added.
Earlier on Friday,
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko told
UN Secretary-General Antonio
Guterres that Belarus is ready to transport Ukrainian grain to
European ports by rail, but that this would require those ports
being able to accept goods from Belarus, which is currently
impossible because of sanctions.
"To create the
conditions for the transit of Ukrainian grain, the ports that
would serve as shipping points should be able to load and unload
Belarusian goods," Lukashenko said.
Guterres, in turn, has
said that he would discuss the issue with the 'leaders' of
the relevant nations in the coming days.