Putin willing to discuss resuming Ukrainian grain shipments from Black Sea ports: Kremlin
The Kremlin said Russian President Vladimir Putin told the leaders of France and Germany on Saturday that Moscow was willing to discuss ways to make it possible for Ukraine to resume shipments of grain from Black Sea ports. Putin spoke to French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz over the phone.
The Kremlin chief also warned Macron and Scholz against ramping up arms supplies to Ukraine, saying they could further destabilise the situation in the pro-Western country, news agency AFP reported.
"For its part, Russia is ready to help find options for the unhindered export of grain, including the export of Ukrainian grain from Black Sea ports," news agency Reuters quoted the Kremlin as saying.
Russia and Ukraine account for nearly a third of the world's wheat supplies, while Moscow is also a key global fertilizer exporter and Kyiv is a major exporter of corn and sunflower oil.
Putin said the difficulties in supplying grain to world markets were the result of the "erroneous economic and financial policies of Western countries".
"An increase in the supply of Russian fertilisers and agricultural products will also help reduce tensions on the global food market, which, of course, will require the removal of the relevant sanctions," Putin told Macron and Scholz, the Kremlin said.
The Kremlin said Putin also told both leaders that Russia was ready to increase its export of fertilizers and agricultural products if sanctions against it were lifted.
Russia's invasion of Ukraine and Western sanctions on Moscow have disrupted supplies of fertilizer, wheat and other commodities from the two countries, fuelling concerns about the risk of hunger around the world.
Ukraine and Western countries have accused Russia of weaponising the food crisis created by its invasion of Ukraine, which has sent the prices of grains, cooking oils, fuel and fertilizer soaring.
Russia has blamed the situation on Western sanctions against it, and on the mining of Ukrainian ports.
The Kremlin said Putin also said Russia was willing to resume talks with Ukraine.
"Special attention was paid to the status of the negotiations that are frozen because of Kyiv. President Vladimir Putin confirmed the Russian side's openness to resume dialogue," it said.
As a result of the war in Ukraine and high inflation, on May 14, India, the world’s second-biggest producer of cereal, announced a ban on wheat exports. India's wheat exports stood at an all-time high of 7 million tonnes, valuing USD 2.05 billion, in 2021-22 on better demand for Indian wheat from overseas.
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