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Putin proposes options for grain exports from Ukraine

Russia guarantees the unimpeded passage of ships carrying Ukrainian grain if Ukraine clears its ports of mines, and can ensure its export through controlled ports such as Berdyansk and Mariupol, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with Rossiya 1 TV channel.

Kiev, according Putin, can also export grain by land, and the most logical route is Belarus, however, Western sanctions will have to be lifted from the country.

The president also recalled that problems in the global food market started in February 2020, and the causes of the energy crisis lie in the short-sighted policy of the West, reports TASS.

Speaking about problems with the food on the global market, the head of state noted “the short-sighted policy of European nations, and the European Commission in the first instance, in the energy sphere” among causes. “We take note of developments there. I personally believe many political forces in the US and in Europe started speculating on the natural concern of planet inhabitants regarding the climate status, the climate change, started promoting this green agenda, including in the energy sector,” Putin said.

“Furthermore, Europeans turned a deaf ear to our strong request to keep long-term contracts for supply of natural gas to European countries and started closing them. Many are still in force but [they] started closing them. This also had its negative impact for the European energy market: prices started growing,” he added.

Putin said that Russia does not obstruct grain export from Ukraine and this can be done via Black Sea ports and neighboring countries. “As for Ukraine’s grain exports, we do not put obstacles to that,” Putin said.

Several ways of exporting such grain exist, the Russian leader noted. This can be done via ports controlled by Ukraine after mine clearance, via Berdyansk and Mariupol, via the Danube River and Romania, Hungary and Poland, and the simplest way is through Belarus, Putin said, adding that this way requires sanctions to be lifted from Belarus.

Meanwhile, new sanctions against Russia will only exacerbate the situation at global markets, the harvest will be more modest while prices will go up, he said. “This will exacerbate the situation at global fertilizer markets which means the harvest prospects will also be much more modest. Meaning, the prices will only grow,” he stated commenting on the new restrictions. “It’s an absolutely short-sighted, erroneous, I would say, simply a stupid policy which leads into a dead end,” the Russian leader added.

The situation in Ukraine and large-scale sanctions imposed against Russia by the United States and the European Union led to violations of grain supplies. Since the beginning of the year, prices for wheat and corn have increased significantly. Stocks of wheat, the UN Security Council noted at a meeting on May 21, around the world will last only 10 weeks, and the situation is worse than during the crisis years of 2007-2008.