Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday accused the West of deliberately creating “hysteria” over Ukrainian grain exports amidst the conflict and said Moscow was ready to honour its obligations to provide energy, farm produce and fertilisers to the world.
Addressing an online BRICS Plus summit hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Putin also said that the policy of some countries toward eroding international law has led to the disbalancing of international relations.
“Deliberate attempts are being made to stir up hysteria over suspended Ukrainian grain exports via Black Sea ports,” Putin was quoted as saying by the official TASS news agency.
Putin said that Russia is not creating any obstacles to prevent grain exports from Ukraine and is ready to offer a safe passage to international waters to grain ships, provided that the Ukrainian military clears the ports and nearby waters of mines.
He, however, said that Ukraine has not been showing a constructive attitude towards the export of grain.
“We have reached a relevant understanding with UN Secretariat officials, but we are still lacking one thing a constructive approach on the part of the Kiev regime, he said.
According to both Russian and US estimates, there are five to six milion tonnes of wheat and seven million tonnes of corn there, Putin said, adding that It’s something but it certainly won’t help resolve issues on the global grain market.
Putin also said that Russia was ready to honour its obligations to provide energy, farm produce and fertilisers to other countries.
“I would like to stress that Russia is a major participant in the world food market, aware of its responsibility. It goes without saying that we are ready to diligently adhere to all of our contractual obligations to provide farm produce, fertilisers, energy and other critically important products, Putin said.
Putin also accused Western countries of being cynical about global food problems.
He noted that both supply and demand for goods and services had shrunk globally when the coronavirus pandemic broke out and the food market was seriously disbalanced.
He recalled the most famous quote attributed to Marie-Antoinette, the queen of France during the French Revolution, who said Let them eat cake when she was looking at her starving protesting subjects from her palace windows.
“Some Western countries are demonstrating such cynicism when they destabilise global production of agricultural products by imposing restrictions, say, on supplies of Russian and Belarusian fertilisers and impeding export of Russian grain to global markets, he said.
Millions of tonnes of grain are sitting in warehouses and Ukrainian ports unable to be exported due to the war, leading to a spike in prices.
Ukraine is a major global exporter of wheat, contributing to 9 percent of the global market. It also accounts for a massive 42% chunk of the global sunflower oil market, and 16 percent of the world’s maize.
Due to a Russian blockade of Black Sea ports, and Russian and Ukrainian mines along the coast, between 20 and 25 million tonnes of wheat are stuck in Ukraine while global grain prices spiral upwards, according to the BBC.
Putin also said that the policy of some countries toward eroding international law has led to the disbalancing of international relations.
“The importance of cooperation with partners who share our values has increased dramatically in the current conditions of disbalanced international relations, he said.
“This situation has been brewing for a long time and became an inevitable result of the policy of eroding international law and undermining multilateral institutes conducted by those who profess the so-called liberal world order, he added.
The Russian president said that the BRICS format is useful because of the proximity of the positions of the participating countries on promoting free trade and multipolarity.
“I consider it very useful to hold BRICS+ meetings that bring together leaders of countries interested in building a mutually beneficial partnership with our association, based on the proximity of views on pressing global political and economic issues and ways to solve them, Putin said, noting that the participating countries stand for the establishment of a truly democratic multipolar order in the world.