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Food crisis / Italian prime minister seeks solution, Putin blunt: West lifts sanctions

Food crisis / Italian prime minister seeks solution, Putin blunt: West lifts

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi discussed ways to help alleviate the international food crisis. The Kremlin said this could only be done if the West lifted sanctions.

"Vladimir Putin stressed that the Russian Federation is ready to make a significant contribution to overcoming the food crisis through the export of wheat and fertilizers, provided that the politically motivated restrictions imposed by the West are lifted," Moscow said in a statement.

Ukraine's Black Sea ports have been blocked since Russia sent thousands of troops to Ukraine on February 24, and more than 20 million tonnes of grain have been stranded in the country.

Russia and Ukraine account for nearly a third of global grain supplies, and the lack of significant grain exports from Ukrainian ports is contributing to a growing global food crisis.

Regarding the risk of a global food crisis, the Kremlin statement blames "disruptions in the production and logistics chains, as well as the financial policies of Western countries during the coronavirus pandemic", for the situation being aggravated due to anti-Russian restrictions . imposed by the United States and the European Union ”.

The Kremlin seems to confirm that Italy will continue to receive Russian gas.

"When discussing energy security issues, the intention of the Russian side to continue to provide uninterrupted supplies of natural gas to Italy at the prices specified in the contracts was confirmed," the statement said.

Italy is the author of a peace plan for Ukraine, but nothing in official communication suggests that the issue was discussed during the telephone conversation. The first signal that Russia was ready to provide a humanitarian corridor for ships carrying food to leave Ukraine in exchange for the lifting of some sanctions was reported on Wednesday.

Ukraine has described Russia's position on linking food exports to sanctions as "blackmail", and British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said Thursday that Putin was "trying to keep the world at bay" by arming the food crisis created by his war. against Ukraine.

The White House said no talks were under way to ease sanctions on Russia to secure grain exports. At a news conference on Thursday evening, Draghi said he had taken the initiative to call the Russian leader.

"I felt it was my duty to take (this initiative) because of the gravity of the humanitarian crisis that could affect the world's poorest," he told reporters.

Draghi said Putin told him the food crisis was the fault of the sanctions.

"Unë jam i interesuar për një çështje më të përcaktuar, më të vogël, që është të përpiqemi të shohim nëse mund të zhbllokojmë këto sasi të mëdha drithi në portet ukrainase në Detin e Zi," tha Draghi.

Ai shtoi se do të mbajë një telefonatë me presidentin ukrainas Volodymyr Zelenskyy për këtë çështje.

Bllokada ruse e porteve të Ukrainës ka penguar dërgesat e grurit, nga të cilat të dyja vendet janë eksportuesit kryesorë. Rusia akuzon Ukrainën për minierat e porteve.

Konflikti po nxit një krizë globale ushqimore duke rritur çmimet e drithërave, vajrave të gatimit, karburantit dhe plehrave.

Russia's defense ministry said civilian ships could now safely use the Azeri Sea port of Mariupol in Ukraine, where its forces took full control last week after Ukrainian fighters surrendered to the besieged Azovstal steel plant.

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