Kyiv: Russia has stolen 600,000 tons of grain – The Kremlin demands lifting of sanctions on Russian grain

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The explosive rise in grain prices, which raises the risk of a worldwide food crisis, is caused by “Russian aggression” in Ukraine and not by the sanctions imposed on Moscow, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister assured today.

“The real cause of the crisis is Russian aggression, not sanctions,” Dmitry Kuleba told reporters.

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The head of the Ukrainian diplomacy also said that the Russian narrative, according to which the cause of the food crisis is the sanctions, has been “shot down”.

According to the Ukrainian Association of Agricultural Producers UAC, Russia has stolen about 600,000 tonnes of grain from the occupied Ukrainian territories and exported a quantity. Kyiv will demand compensation from Russia, both for the theft of the crop and for the destruction of farmers’ property, said UAC Vice President Dennis Martsuk.

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“To date, about 600,000 tonnes have been stolen from agricultural companies and transported to the temporarily occupied territory of Crimea and from there to ports, especially Sevastopol, from where ships leave for the Middle East,” Marzuk told public television. According to this source, about 100,000 grains have already been exported by ships to Syria, based on data “recorded by the USA”.

Marchuk gave no further details and Reuters was unable to verify his allegations.

Lifting sanctions

The Kremlin announced today that Western sanctions against Moscow must be lifted before Russian grain can be shipped to international markets.

“The president (Vladimir Putin) has said that in order for Russian grain to be sent to international markets, direct and indirect sanctions against Russia must be lifted,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peshkov.

Peshkov said Western sanctions in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine “have affected maritime security, payments and access to European ports.”

He added that “no substantive discussions have taken place” on lifting the sanctions.

Ukraine and Russia together produce about a third of the world’s grain supplies, while Russia is also a major exporter of fertilizers and Ukraine is a major supplier of maize and sunflower oil.

Ukraine’s grain exports have stalled because Russia has closed its ports on the Black Sea, but Moscow attributes the situation to Ukraine’s failure to demine the ports.

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said today that Ukraine must solve the problems associated with the transportation of grain by denouncing access to its ports and that Moscow does not need to take any action because it has already made the necessary commitments.

Both Peshkov and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have argued that Ukraine’s grain exports occupy a very small share of the world market.

“As far as we know, there are far fewer grains than the Ukrainians say,” Peshkov said. “We need not exaggerate the importance of these grain stocks in terms of their impact on international markets.”

Lavrov accused the West of reducing Ukraine’s grain exports to a “global catastrophe”.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Ukraine is the fifth largest exporter of wheat in the world, with a share of up to 10% of the world market in recent years.

Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine has fueled a spike in prices for cereals, cooking oils, fuel and fertilizers.

Source: Capital

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