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Putin: West Deceived Poor Nations with Ukraine Grain Deal
By Staff, Agencies
Western nations lied when they claimed Ukraine needed access to sea shipping to alleviate the surging food prices and risk of famine in poor countries, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.
Most of the cargoes that came out of Ukraine under a Turkey- and UN-brokered deal with Russia went to the EU, Putin stated in a speech at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, Russia on Wednesday. He added that the terms of the arrangement should probably be changed.
Putin made the remarks in reference to the arrangement allowing civilian ships to enter and leave Ukrainian Black Sea ports to deliver grain cargoes. The scheme was put into action in late July, with Turkey hosting a center that coordinates the deliveries.
He also noted that the deal was touted as a way to curb the surging global prices and help the most struggling nations. In practice, almost all of the grain shipped from Ukraine went to wealthy EU nations, Putin said.
“Many European nations acted in decades and centuries past as colonizers, and they act in the same way today. They simply deceived developing nations once again. And they keep up the deceit.”
With an attitude like this, problems with food availability will only grow worse, Putin warned.
On August 30, the UN Food Program reported that it had sent a second shipment with food assistance from Ukraine. The ship was carrying 37,000 metric tons of wheat grain to Yemen. Putin stressed that just two ships out of more than 80 that left Ukraine were actually traveling on hunger relief missions.
Earlier this week, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused Western nations of failing to remove secondary restrictions on the export of food and fertilizers from Russia after the Ukraine deal was reached. The UN, which co-signed the agreement with Turkey, pledged to use its clout to have the restrictions lifted.
The economic forum hosted by Russia is an annual event focused on regional cooperation in Asia. Putin was taking part in a plenary session on the second day of the event, along with officials from Armenia, China, Myanmar, and Mongolia.
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