The Russian president suggests that Ukraine can export grain on freight trains through Belarus. – A political coincidence, says the researcher.
President Vladimir Putin spoke on Russian television Friday evening about the situation in the world food market.
He distanced himself from accusations that Russia was blocking grain exports from Ukraine, according to reports Reuters.
Putin called the allegations a hoax, claiming that Western countries were trying to cover up their mistakes by accusing Russia of problems in the global food market.
“The situation will get worse because the British and the Americans have imposed sanctions on our fertilizers,” he said in the interview.
He said the best solution for extracting grain from Ukraine would be to ship it via Belarus. He stressed that the condition is the lifting of sanctions on the country.
Russian warships control access to Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea and have occupied large parts of the southern coast of Ukraine.
Putin also claimed that global food shortages would be made worse by British and US sanctions on Russian fertilizers.
Ukrainian President Zelensky, in his evening speech on Tuesday, condemned the Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports.
It is believed that the embargo increases the risk of starvation in countries that depend on Ukrainian grain, which could lead to a new migration crisis.
Zelensky called it a cynical lie when Russia says sanctions are preventing it from exporting its food.
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Lieutenant Colonel and Instructor at the Norwegian Defense College Geir Hagen Carlsen describes Putin’s proposed transportation route through Belarus as political cover.
– It’s totally unrealistic. The sizes are so large that it is completely unrealistic to carry them this way. Much of it goes to Egypt and the Middle East, so it has to be transported by boat across the Mediterranean, he says.
It also indicates that Russia destroyed the railway bridge over the Dniester River in a missile attack.
The bridge is an important transport route between Ukraine and Romania, and was seen as an alternative export route for grain if Ukrainian ports were occupied.
– It has nothing to do with the Russians’ statement that they want to export grain, says Hagen Carlsen.
Affects poor countries
Arne Bardalen is a special advisor at NIBIO, an agricultural research institute.
He points out that Ukrainian wheat importing countries are generally countries that partially spend a relatively large portion of their income on food.
– The result of the rise in the price of wheat is the rise in the price of bread even more. The disease affects these countries, which are partly poor countries where wheat and bread are an important part of the diet, says Bradalen.
Ukraine was previously a major exporter of wheat to countries in North Africa, the Middle East, East Africa, and Indonesia.
– There are now more than 20 million tons of grain stored in Ukraine that should have been exported. It is important that they are exported before harvesting begins.
Without the ability to store grain, it will rot. This will exacerbate an already ongoing food crisis, says Bradalin.
Accused of exporting to Turkey
Ukraine’s ambassador to Turkey accuses Russia of stealing and sending Ukrainian grain abroad, Including Turkeywrites NTB.
– Russia shamelessly steals Ukrainian grain and sends it abroad from Crimea, including to Turkey, says Ambassador Vasyl Bodna.
– He adds that we asked Turkey to help solve this issue.
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