The Russian president has said he is ready to help the West deal with a possible global famine, but only in exchange for lifting sanctions on his country after invading Ukraine
Image: SPUTNIK/AFP via Getty Images)
Vladimir Putin has said he is ready to help the West deal with a possible global famine if sanctions on Russia are lifted – an offer that has been criticized as “blackmail”.
Russian forces have barricaded Black Sea ports to keep grain from leaving Ukraine, and it is feared this could lead to food shortages around the world.
But Putin now says he’s ready to remove the stumbling block if the sanctions imposed on Russia since it besieged Ukraine are lifted.
He and Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi have discussed ways to ease the international food crisis, with the Kremlin saying this can only be done if the West lifts sanctions.
“Vladimir Putin stressed that the Russian Federation is ready to make a significant contribution to overcoming the food crisis by exporting grain and fertilizers, provided that the politically motivated restrictions imposed by the West are lifted,” Moscow said in a statement.
Ukraine has called Russia’s position “blackmail,” and Britain’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said Thursday that Putin is “trying to ransom the world” by arming the food crisis caused by his war in Ukraine.
The White House said there would be no talks on easing sanctions on Russia to secure grain exports.
In a Thursday night press conference, Draghi said he had taken the initiative to call the Russian leader.
“I felt it my duty to take (this initiative) because of the gravity of the humanitarian crisis that could be affecting the world’s poorest,” he told reporters.
Draghi said Putin told him the food crisis was the fault of the sanctions.
“I’m interested in a more precisely defined, smaller problem, which is trying to see if we can release these huge amounts of grain in Ukrainian Black Sea ports,” Draghi said.
He added that he would be on the phone with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on the matter.
Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports has prevented shipments of grain, of which both countries are major exporters.
Russia accuses Ukraine of mining ports.
Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images)
The conflict is fueling a global food crisis, driving up the prices of grains, cooking oils, fuel and fertilizers.
Separately, Russia’s Defense Ministry said civilian ships can now safely use the port of Mariupol on Ukraine’s Sea of Azov, where its forces took full control last week after Ukrainian militants surrendered at the besieged Azovstal Steel Plant.
The danger from mines around the port of Mariupol has now been eliminated.
The ministry said six foreign dry cargo vessels in the port are now free to sail. It said they came from Bulgaria, Dominica, Liberia, Panama, Turkey and Jamaica and urged those governments to get the ships’ owners to remove them.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/vladimir-putin-offers-help-west-27078336 Vladimir Putin offers West to help with 'food crisis' - if Russia sanctions lift - World News