Russian President Vladimir Putin has suggested that Moscow could reopen the Ukrainian port of Odessa on the Black Sea for grain exports, provided Western sanctions are lifted against his country, Politico reports.
The Kremlin leader made the proposals on Saturday, May 28, during an 80-minute telephone conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
All in the context of growing international concerns about the food crisis looming over Ukraine’s inability to export grain amid the conflict.
In talks with Putin, Macron and Scholz insisted “on the urgency of lifting the blockade of Odessa to allow the export of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea and to avoid a global food crisis,” according to a statement issued by the Elysée Palace.
The two European leaders “took note of the Russian president’s promise to grant ships access to the port for grain exports without it being exploited militarily by Russia, if it is first cleared by me,” the statement said.
At the same time, the Kremlin reported that Putin had told Macron and Scholz that “Russia is ready to help find options for unhindered grain exports, including exports of Ukrainian grain from Black Sea ports.”
“Putin explained the real reasons for the food supply difficulties, which were the result of the erroneous economic and financial policies of Western countries, as well as the anti-Russian sanctions imposed by them. (…) Increasing the supply of Russian fertilizers and agricultural products will also reduce tensions on the world food market, which will, of course, require the lifting of relevant sanctions, ”the Kremlin said.
According to Politico, there is no mention in the Moscow communiqué about the demining operation in the Odessa port area.
A few weeks ago, the European Commissioner for Agriculture proposed “alternative routes” to transport grain through Poland’s Baltic Sea ports.
Before the war, Ukraine could export about five million metric tons of grain and up to 700,000 tons of sunflower oil a month through the Black Sea. In April, it managed to export less than a million tonnes of grain.
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Source From: Libertatea