Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed the West for the collapse of the agreement that ensured the transport of Ukrainian grain on the Black Sea and denied that Moscow’s withdrawal would generate a global food crisis. His statements come after several hours of talks held in Sochi with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who, however, continues to be optimistic and believes that the agreement could be restored soon, reports CNN and Reuters, quoted by News.ro.
“The West, to put it bluntly, deceived us about the humanitarian goals it would pursue through the Black Sea Initiative, to help developing countries,” Vladimir Putin claimed in the conference joint press supported by Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“As I said before, we were simply forced to make this decision,” Putin continued, referring to Moscow’s withdrawal from the agreement in July, when it refused to extend it after a year of operation.
Russia declared, upon exiting the agreement, that the guarantees promised to Moscow by the West through a memorandum attached to the agreement, regarding its own exports of agricultural products and fertilizers, were not respected.
In addition, Putin continued to deny that exports from Ukraine – one of the world’s main grain suppliers, along with Russia – would influence the global food market, and their lack would cause a crisis. “Obviously, the termination of the agreement has not affected the global production markets, and I would like to emphasize this in particular. No matter what is said about it, grain prices continue to fall, there is no physical shortage of food. There are problems with its fair distribution, yes. But this has nothing to do with the so-called grain agreement,” added Putin, quoted by CNN.
In other news, the Kremlin leader described the meeting with Erdogan as taking place “in a constructive and business atmosphere.”
Before starting the actual talks with Ergodan, Putin had stated that Russia would be willing to consider resuming the grain agreement.
“We will do this as soon as all agreements on the lifting of restrictions on the export of Russian agricultural products are fully implemented,” he said.
For his part, the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who mediated last year with the UN the conclusion of the agreement with Russia for the safe transport of Ukrainian grain on the Black Sea, declared with Putin that he believes that it will soon be possible for the agreement to be restored.
“We believe that we will reach a solution that will meet expectations in a short time,” Erdogan said after his first face-to-face meeting with Putin in almost a year.
“We will be prepared to consider the possibility of reactivating the grain agreement, and I have told Mr. President about this again today – we will do so as soon as all agreements on the lifting of restrictions on the export of Russian agricultural products are on fully implemented”, said Putin in the joint press conference with Erdogan.
The deal was aimed at transporting grain from Ukraine to world markets via the Black Sea and easing a global food crisis that the United Nations said was exacerbated by Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine last February.
Russia and Ukraine are two of the world’s leading agricultural producers and major players in the markets for wheat, barley, corn, rapeseed, rapeseed oil, sunflower seeds and sunflower oil.
While Russian food and fertilizer exports are not directly subject to Western sanctions imposed after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Moscow has said restrictions on payments, logistics and insurance have hampered shipments.
Editor : M.B.