Russia willing to discuss allowing Ukrainian grain out of blockaded ports, Putin says

Sky News

Vladimir Putin has told Western leaders he is willing to discuss allowing Ukrainian grain to be exported from Black Sea ports, as fears swirl of a global food shortage.

Moscow has been accused of “weaponising hunger”, with its invasion of its neighbour sending prices of grains, cooking oils and fuel soaring.

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More than 20 million tonnes of grain is lying idle in silos in Ukrainian ports amid a blockade by Russian ships.

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“For its part, Russia is ready to help find options for the unhindered export of grain, including the export of Ukrainian grain from Black Sea ports,” the Kremlin said.

Russia and Ukraine account for nearly a third of global wheat supplies, while Russia is also a key global fertiliser exporter and Ukraine is a major exporter of corn and sunflower oil.

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Grain has built up in Ukraine following the invasion of Russia. Pic: Reuters
Grain has built up in Ukraine following the invasion of Russia

According to the Kremlin, Mr Putin also informed French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz that Russia was ready to increase its export of fertilisers and agricultural products if sanctions against it were lifted – a demand he has raised in conversations with the Italian and Austrian leaders in recent days.

Britain’s Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has accused Moscow of “weaponising hunger” and rejected the idea of sanctions relief in exchange for grain corridors.

She said: “What we cannot have is any lifting of sanctions, any appeasement, which will simply make Putin stronger in the longer term.”

Russia on the other hand has blamed the food crisis on Western sanctions and the mining of Ukrainian ports.

According to the Kremlin, Mr Putin also said Russia was willing to resume frozen negotiations with Ukraine.

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