Putin Promises Grain To Six African Countries

Russia’s Vladimir Putin has promised to export free grains to six African countries.

Putin Promises Grain To Six African Countries
Putin Promises Grains To Six African Countries

“In the coming months, we will be able to ensure free supplies of 25,000 to 50,000 tons of grain to Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Mali, Somalia, Central African Republic and Eritrea,” he said in a speech opening the Russia-Africa summit.

Both Russia and Ukraine are important global suppliers of barley, wheat, sunflower oil and other food products that many developing countries rely on.

In an article published on Monday ahead of the Russia Africa Summit in St Petersburg on 27-28 July he also expressed his support for African inclusion in the G20 and on the UN Security Council.

In the article, which was published on Monday, President Putin defended his actions in withdrawing from the Black Sea grain deal. Under the deal, Russia had eased its blockade of Ukrainian ports, allowing the East European country to export grain, oilseed and fertiliser to markets around the world over the past year.

When he announced his decision to withdraw in June it prompted global concern over the impacts on food security. The deal expired on 18 July and according to UK security sources, the Russia Black Sea Fleet is now preparing to blockade Ukraine’s ports again.

In his article, Putin denounced the deal, saying that it had been “shamelessly used solely for the enrichment of large US and European businesses”, with over 70% of the supplies exported from Ukraine ending up in high and upper-middle income countries and little going to those most in need.

He also said that none of the provisions of the deal relating to exemption from sanctions of Russian grain and fertiliser exports had been fulfilled, and claimed that the deal’s humanitarian purpose had therefore been defeated.

He stressed that Russia has always paid “great attention” to supplies of food to Africa, and that it had exported 11.5m tonnes of grain to the continent in 2022, and almost 10m tonnes more in the first half of 2023, on a contractual and humanitarian basis despite sanctions.

And he added: “I want to give assurances that our country is capable of replacing the Ukrainian grain both on a commercial and free-of-charge basis, especially as we expect another record harvest this year.”

In reaction to the speech, the Washington Post commented that the president was cynically trying to blame the West and “weaponise” food supplies but that “Moscow’s own guilt is evident in the explosions and fires that have devastated Ukrainian grain stores and facilities”.

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