West is ‘artificially’ blocking Russian grain exports – Lavrov
Western countries are contributing to the global food crisis by hindering Russian grain exports, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday.
The minister referred to the issue of Ukrainian grain being unable to leave the country’s ports due to the military conflict in the region, and to subsequent concerns over global food security, when speaking at the G20 foreign ministers meeting in Indonesia.
“Statistics clearly show that the grain locked in Ukrainian ports represents less than one percent of world production, so it has no real impact on food security. All that is required is for the West to stop artificially blocking our supplies to those countries that have ordered our grain,” Lavrov said, as quoted by the TASS news agency.
Russia, with Turkey’s help, is ready to ensure the safe passage of convoys to the Mediterranean Sea and then to buyers’ markets, Lavrov said, adding that some Western countries seek to complicate the process.
“The problem is that our Western colleagues are eager to create an international monitoring mechanism for this process, with the participation of NATO forces. We understand their intention very well,” he explained.
Russia, the world’s largest wheat exporter, is expecting to harvest a record amount of grain this year. The country said earlier this week that it has started selling its grain to “friendly” nations, for rubles.
The global grain market has been badly affected by the disruption of exports from Russia, Ukraine and other major wheat producers, such as India and Kazakhstan. The latter two have banned wheat exports to ensure food security at home. The developments have led to a spike in grain prices and warnings of a global food crisis.
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