Vladimir Putin has expressed concern over grain shipments from Ukrainian ports, suggesting that the products have gone to EU countries rather than poorer countries.
The Russian president also threatened to cut off gas supplies to the EU if the bloc caps the price of imports.
Speaking at the Eastern Europe Forum in Vladivostok yesterday (7 September), Putin said the grain deal – brokered by Turkey and reached with the UN in late July – had proven to be “another outrageous deception” as shipments to poorer economies had been “simply abandoned”.
Russian State News Agency CASS quoted Putin as saying, “I will definitely have a word with the Turkish President, Mr. [Recep Tayyip] Erdogan on this issue. After all, it was we who developed the Ukrainian grain export mechanism.
One of the main intentions of the agreement was to alleviate hunger in less developed countries due to soaring food prices and shortages due to the war in Ukraine which had blocked shipments of basic products such as wheat and sunflower oil.
But Putin hinted that was not happening.
“Excluding Turkey as a mediating country, almost all the grain exported from Ukraine does not go to the poorest countries, but to the European Union,” he said.
According to UN data, more than 20 ships headed or are heading to developing and least developed countries (excluding those heading to Turkey). Six ships have Egypt as their final destination, while others are heading to countries like Yemen and Sudan.
Despite Putin’s protests over the workings of the grain deal, he said Moscow would continue to work on the deal, “in the hope that the goals, for which this deal was organized, will eventually be achieved.” .
The first grain ship to leave Ukrainian ports since Russia invaded the country in February left Odessa early last month, bound for Lebanon via Turkey.
As of September 4, 87 voyages from Ukrainian ports have carried 2,076,280 metric tons of grain and other foodstuffs.
In the same speech yesterday, Putin threatened to halt all energy shipments to Europe if Brussels went ahead with a proposal to cap the price of Russian gas.
“We won’t provide anything if it’s against our interests,” he said. “Those who impose anything on us are not in a position to tell us what they want. Let them think about it. »
European countries are already preparing for such an eventuality. Germany said it would allow its sugar companies to cooperate with each other if necessary to maintain production.
just food asked the UN for a response to Putin’s comments.
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