Putin: Grain From Ukraine Doesn't Reach Poorest Countries Despite Russia Raising Issue Long Time Ago

© AFP 2023 / GENYA SAVILOVA farmer shows a newly harvested grain in Stadnytca village, some 170 km South from Kiev (File)
A farmer shows a newly harvested grain in Stadnytca village, some 170 km South from Kiev (File) - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.09.2022
Last week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres underscored the need for a full implementation of the Black Sea grain deal.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has stated that grain supplies from Ukraine do not reach the poorest countries despite the fact that Moscow raised the issue months ago.
“[…] We have repeatedly pointed to the problem, but everything is in vain”, he said on Tuesday, adding that everyone turns a deaf ear to the issue.
The Russian president added that as of September 23, out of 203 ships that left the ports of Ukraine, only four went to the poorest countries under the UN program. Of the 46 ships sent from Monday to Friday last week, 14 vessels indicated Turkey as the country of destination or an intermediary country, and of the remaining 32 ships, 25 ones were sent to the European Union.
He also said on Tuesday that the situation with food supplies being sent to the poorest countries is not changing and that “it is a total scam by the West.” The Russian president slammed developed countries for continuing to buy up food.
“The cost of food on the world market has returned to the levels of the beginning of the year, and it is currently 40 percent higher than in 2020. This is a direct consequence - without any exaggeration - of the predatory policy pursued by the world’s richest countries, which continue to actively buy food using, among other things, the printing of money, which they are constantly carry out”, Putin said.
According to him, US food imports reached $218.6 billion in 2022 as compared to $185.1 billion last year.
“Importantly, the volume of US [food] imports exceeds exports by $22.3 billion. In previous years, exports exceeded imports, namely, the US currently imports more food from the world markets than it sells,” Putin added.
The remarks come after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres “substantively discussed the implementation of the Istanbul agreements on the export of Ukrainian food products from the Black Sea ports and the unimpeded export of Russian agricultural products and fertilizers,” according to a Russian Foreign Ministry statement last week.
“The parties confirmed the need to ensure […] full implementation” of the agreements, the statement pointed out.
On July 22, Russia, Ukraine, and Turkey signed a UN-brokered initiative to provide a humanitarian maritime corridor for ships with food and fertilizer exports from Black Sea ports. The Istanbul-based Joint Coordination Center (JCC) was set up to monitor the implementation of the initiative, including ensuring that cargo ships do not carry unauthorized goods or personnel.

Grain Export Deal

Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, for his part, said in July that the two UN-brokered documents which were signed in Istanbul were aimed at resolving the issue of food and grain exports to the global market.
He explained that the first document stipulates the UN facilitating the removal of restrictions on exports of Russian agricultural products, while the second document “defines the algorithm for the export of Ukrainian agricultural products from the Black Sea ports controlled by Ukraine. Shoigu added that Kiev is responsible for security in Ukrainian territorial waters, including the process of demining. He also emphasized that the deal would have been impossible without the active mediating role of the UN and Turkey.
A harvester collects wheat in Semikarakorsky District of Rostov-on-Don region near Semikarakorsk, Southern Russia, Wednesday, July 6, 2022. - Sputnik International, 1920, 16.09.2022
Which Countries Have Received Food From Ukraine Under UN-Mediated Grain Deal?
A UN official in turn said, referring to the deal, that Russia and Ukraine had agreed to ensure the safe passage of vessels shipping grain in the Black Sea and abstain from attacking them. Grain supplies from Ukraine ceased earlier this year amid Moscow’s ongoing special military operation in the country, raising concerns about acute food shortages across the globe.
The West has repeatedly blamed Russia for blocking grain shipments from Ukraine. The Kremlin has denied the accusations, noting that the crisis was provoked by Ukrainian forces, who had mined the Black Sea ports. Moscow also stressed that Western sanctions against Russian agricultural exports had added significantly to the issue.
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