Russian President Vladimir Putin made a “big mistake” by withdrawing from an Istanbul deal to export grain from Ukraine to the Black Sea, rebuked French President Emmanuel Macron, who said “we see clearly that Russia has decided to starve countries that are already in trouble,” AFP reported.
“He decided to turn food into a weapon (…). I think it’s a big mistake,” the French president said at the end of the EU-CELAC summit.
Emmanuel Macron said that withdrawing from agreements on grain transport in the Black Sea would mean “the king is empty, not the tsar”.
“We observe very clearly that Russia has decided (…) to starve countries that are already in trouble,” the French president also stressed, news.ro reported.
The Russian president’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, told accredited reporters in the Kremlin on Monday that Russia was withdrawing from agreements to transport grain in the Black Sea, noting that it was not related to the attack on the Kerch bridge. Wheat prices rose significantly after Russia’s announcement. The deal was completed at midnight.
Moscow condemned the ban on trade in fertilizers and other Russian products.
Within a year, the agreement allowed the export of 33 million tons of grain from Ukrainian ports – mainly corn and wheat – which helped to stabilize world food prices and eliminate the risk of shortages.
“The land routes that we Europeans have protected since the beginning of the crisis, which already represented the transport and exit of 60% of the grain, are important and we will continue our efforts,” promised Emmanuel Macron.
Several heads of state in the West and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres have condemned Moscow’s refusal to extend the deal.
Antonio Guterres condemned that “hundreds of millions of people face starvation” and “will pay the price”.
The Russian government formally notified Turkey, Ukraine and the United Nations that it was withdrawing from the agreement.
Editor: Andrea Smeria
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