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Putin uses BRICS summit to call for lifting of sanctions on poorer countries devastated by coronavirus pandemic

Putin uses BRICS summit to call for lifting of sanctions on poorer countries devastated by coronavirus pandemic
Russian President Vladimir Putin has proposed that countries scrap sanctions against struggling states as the global economic downturn caused by Covid-19 continues to worsen.

Speaking at the BRICS summit by videoconference on Tuesday, Vladimir Putin said that Russia is calling on the global community to “remove all restrictions and sanctions on trade, at least in the context of the pandemic, for those countries… that are in dire need of supplies of food, medicine and medical equipment in the fight against this infection.”

BRICS represents the five major emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

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As the extent of the economic disruption that coronavirus would cause started to become clear in April, the Russian government proposed a resolution at the United Nations that would cut restrictions and abandon trade disputes in order to free up exports of food and medicine. However, the US and European Union, as well as others, voiced opposition.

At the time, Russia’s representatives to the international organization in Washington blasted these interventions, saying the “unwillingness of a number of international players to say goodbye to their sanctions policies … puts ordinary people in the most vulnerable states on the brink of survival.”

According to Johns Hopkins University, at least 55 million people across the globe have been infected with coronavirus, and 1.3 million have died. In September, analysts warned that the pandemic had laid bare the precarious nature of food supply chains, and scientists have also warned of the risk of global drug shortages resulting from the disruption.

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