Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on Friday said there was “no problem” to export grain from Ukraine, after Moscow’s operation in Ukraine raised fears of a global food crisis.
“There is no problem to export grain from Ukraine,” he said in a televised interview, saying it could be done via Ukrainian ports, via others under Russian control, or even via central Europe.
Putin accused the West of “bluster” by claiming Moscow was preventing grain exports from Ukraine.
The Russian leader mentioned the possibility of exporting via the Ukrainian ports of Mariupol and Berdyansk on the Sea of Azov, which gives access to the Black Sea. Both are under Russian control.
He also said ports under Kyiv’s control, in particular, Odessa, could be used but called for the waters around the Ukrainian-held ports to be “cleared” of mines by Ukraine.
Russia would in exchange allow the ships safe passage, Putin said.
Other transport options include the Danube River via Romania, Hungary or Poland, he added.
“But the simplest, the easiest, the cheapest would be exports via Belarus, from there one can go to Baltic ports, then to the Baltic Sea and then anywhere in the world.”
But Putin said any export via Belarus would be conditional on the “lifting of sanctions” by the West against Minsk, allied to Moscow.
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