Putin says Russia will continue working on supply of grain, fertilizers to Africa

Putin says Russia will continue working on supply of grain, fertilizers to Africa

Russian president tells African countries that Moscow is ‘able to replace Ukrainian grain both commercially and free of charge’ due to expected record harvest

By Burc Eruygur

ISTANBUL (AA) - ​​​​​​​Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country will continue to work on supplying grain and fertilizers to Africa ahead of the second Russia-Africa Summit scheduled to take place later this week.

“Despite the (Western) sanctions, Russia will continue to work energetically on organizing the supply of grain, food, fertilizers and more to Africa. We highly appreciate and will continue to dynamically develop the entire range of economic ties with Africa – both with individual states and with regional integration associations, and, of course, with the African Union,” Putin said in an article released by the Kremlin overnight Sunday.

He said that Russia welcomed the AU’s strategy of further economic integration, and the formation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), adding that his country is ready to establish “pragmatic, mutually beneficial ties, including through the Eurasian Economic Union.”

Putin added that Moscow places great importance on the upcoming Russia-Africa Summit in St. Petersburg on July 27-28, stating that a comprehensive declaration is planned to be adopted based on the summit’s results, while numerous intergovernmental agreements and memorandums are being prepared for signing.

He also touched on the the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which expired on July 17, alleging that the deal was used in the West to “enrich large American and European businesses that exported and resold grain from Ukraine.”

“Judge for yourself: for almost a year, as part of the ‘deal,’ a total of 32.8 million tons of cargo was exported from Ukraine, of which more than 70% went to countries with high- and upper middle-income levels, including the EU, while countries such as Ethiopia, Sudan, and Somalia, as well as Yemen and Afghanistan, accounted for less than 3% of the total volume – less than one million tons,” he said.

He reiterated that the conditions in the grain deal concerning the Russian Agricultural Bank’s withdrawal from sanctions to export grain and fertilizers to world markets were not fulfilled, adding: “Even our donation of mineral fertilizers to needy, poorest countries is hindered.”

“Given all these facts, the continuation of the ‘grain deal’ that did not justify its humanitarian purpose has lost its meaning. We objected to the further extension of the ‘deal’ since July 18… I want to assure you that our country is able to replace Ukrainian grain both commercially and free of charge, especially since we again expect a record harvest this year,” he added.

Russia suspended its participation in the Black Sea grain deal on July 17, saying the Russian part of the agreement was not implemented. It had sought the loosening of banking restrictions and the ability to ship its fertilizer before returning to the agreement.

The agreement, initially signed in July of last year in Istanbul by Türkiye, the UN, Russia, and Ukraine, was aimed at resuming grain exports from Ukrainian ports halted due to the Russia-Ukraine war, which began in February 2022.

Türkiye has said Western countries should try to address Russia's complaints, and that it hopes Russia returns to the deal.

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