Putin: Russia ready to help overcome food crisis, if West lifts sanctions

Agence France-Presse

Posted at May 27 2022 01:41 AM | Updated as of May 27 2022 12:24 PM

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Moscow is ready to make a "significant contribution" to averting a looming food crisis if the West lifts sanctions imposed on Russia over Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin said in a telephone call with Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

"Vladimir Putin emphasizes that the Russian Federation is ready to make a significant contribution to overcoming the food crisis through the export of grain and fertilizer, subject to the lifting of politically motivated restrictions by the West," the Kremlin said in a statement following the call. 

It added that Putin also spoke about the "steps taken to ensure safety of navigation, including the daily opening of humanitarian corridors for the exit of civilian ships from the ports of the Azov and Black Sea, which is impeded by the Ukrainian side". 

People queue to buy bread outside a bakery in a suburb outside Beirut, Lebanon, May 18, 2022. Lebanon has been suffering from a bread crisis, with bakeries still suffering from a shortage of flour. The quantity of wheat in Lebanon is sufficient for a few days. Wael Hamzeh, EPA-EFE
People queue to buy bread outside a bakery in a suburb outside Beirut, Lebanon, May 18, 2022. Lebanon has been suffering from a bread crisis, with bakeries still suffering from a shortage of flour. The quantity of wheat in Lebanon is sufficient for a few days. Wael Hamzeh, EPA-EFE

Putin also described as "unfounded" accusations that Russia was to blame for the problems with food supplies on the global market.

A statement from the Italian government said "the call was dedicated to developments in Ukraine and efforts to find a common solution to the ongoing food crisis, as well as the severe repercussions for the world's poorest countries". 

Russia was slapped with unprecedented sanctions after Putin ordered troops into neighboring Ukraine on February 24. 

The sanctions and military action have disrupted supplies of fertilizer, wheat and other commodities from both Russia and Ukraine.

The two countries produce 30 percent of the global wheat supply.