The Kremlin said on Tuesday that Russian fertilizer producers were trying to comply with the agreement despite Western sanctions against them, which posed a risk to global food security.
Spokesman Dmitry Peskov was responding to a question about a proposal by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres that Russia allow shipments of some of Ukraine’s grain to meet the global food crisis in exchange for Russian and Belarusian exports of potash fertilizers, which are currently limited. Sanctions for conflict in Ukraine.
Peskov said Russian suppliers were keen to meet international agreements, but that “sanctions have been imposed, which are boomeranging around the world.”
Russia’s decision to send troops to Ukraine about three months ago has prevented Ukraine from using its main ports in the Black and Azov Seas, and has cut its grain exports by more than half this month compared to the same period last year.
Russia and Ukraine together account for about one-third of the world’s wheat supply. Ukraine is also a major exporter of corn, barley, sunflower oil and rapeseed oil, with Russia and Belarus – which have supported Moscow in its intervention in Ukraine – accounting for more than 40% of global crop potash exports.
Guterres says 36 countries rely on Russia and Ukraine for more than half of their wheat imports, including some of the world’s poorest and most at-risk countries. A UN food agency official said on May 6 that about 25 million tonnes of grain were stuck in Ukraine.
But Peskov said Ukraine’s ports were heavily mined, and President Vladimir Putin told Guterres during recent talks in Moscow that removing the mines would be a very complex operation. At least four major Ukrainian ports are now under Russian control.
(Written by Kevin Leafy; Edited by Mark Trevelyan)