Russian President Putin Promises Free Grain For Six African Countries

As he inaugurated a Russia-Africa meeting in his hometown of Saint Petersburg on Thursday, President Vladimir Putin vowed to deliver up to 50,000 tonnes of free grain supplies to six African countries.

He pledged huge no-cost grain shipments to six African countries when discussing the stalled Black Sea grain contract at the Russia-Africa Summit in St Petersburg.

“Our country will continue to support needy states and regions, in particular, with its humanitarian deliveries,” said Putin.

“We seek to actively participate in building a fairer system of the distribution of resources. We are taking maximum efforts to avert a global food crisis.”

He referred to the difficulties of maintaining the supply with what he called “illegal sanctions” which “seriously impede the supply of Russian food, complicate transportation, logistics, insurance and bank payments.”

Delegates from many African nations called for an effective deal on grain shipments.

Chairperson of the African Union and President of the Union of Comoros, Azali Assoumani, said: “An agreement [on grain supplies] must be possible to try to save thousands of people who are dependent on these imports.

“Africa’s economic food security will be most at risk, especially since the continent is already badly affected by food price shocks caused by the interruption of its supplies.

“We, therefore, urge the stakeholders to find common ground to allow the resumption of employment, to secure grain from Ukraine and Russia to our continent.”

The summit follows Russia’s withdrawal from a pact that enabled Black Sea shipments, which are critical to many African countries, a decision that attracted widespread condemnation and created new concerns about global food security.

Putin stated that Russia decided to withdraw from the agreement because “none of the terms of the agreement, concerning the withdrawal of Russian exports of grain and fertilisers to global markets from sanctions, were met.”

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