Putin complains Russian fertilizer and food exports being hindered

Moscow, July 1, (dpa/GNA) - The Kremlin renewed complaints on Thursday about Western countries being responsible for rising global food prices and creating difficulties for fertilizer and food exports from Russia.

Formally, the West has not imposed trade restrictions on Russian fertilizer and food, “but the owners of companies producing fertilizer and even their family members have come under the sanctions,” Russian President Vladimir Putin complained at a meeting with Indonesian counterpart Joko Widodo in Moscow on Thursday, according to the Interfax news agency.

In addition, he said, the US and the EU had imposed sanctions on Russian ports and created difficulties for insuring cargo ships.

All this “creates certain problems in the markets for food and fertilizer,” Putin stressed.

He also accused the US of importing and hoarding more food, thus fuelling the crisis. “Developing countries are in the worst situation in this sense,” he said. He said he hoped Widodo would raise the issue at the G20 summit in Indonesia in November.

At the same time, Putin again put into perspective the importance of Ukrainian grain supplies for the world market. These accounted for only a fraction of global exports.

Ukraine and the Western states accuse Russia of blockading Ukrainian ports. The Russian leader also denied this.

Widodo said in a statement on Thursday that his only priority is getting food supplies moving again.

“It is in the interest of the world community and hundreds of millions of people who are affected by disruption in the food and fertilizer supply chain, especially in developing countries,” read the statement.

“For the sake of humanity I also support the efforts of the United Nations for the reintegration of Russian food and fertilizer commodities and Ukrainian food commodities to enter the world supply chain.”

Widodo stressed that ending the fighting is the main priority.

“Indonesia does not have any interest except that it wants to see that war can be ended soon, the supply chain of food, fertilizer and energy can be repaired immediately, because this involves the lives of hundreds of millions of people and even billions of people.”

At the planned G20 summit in Bali, the issue of food security is likely to play an important role in addition to the Ukraine war.

Russia is part of the G20 and has confirmed its intention to attend the summit. However, it is still unclear whether Putin will be there in person or only attend online.

Widodo has also invited Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Indonesia’s president, who met Zelensky in Kiev before his Kremlin visit, brought a message from the Ukrainian leader to Putin.

It is very important to get the dialogue between Russia and Ukraine going again in order to reach a peaceful solution, Widodo said, adding he is ready to mediate.

Putin’s reaction to the mediation offer was not initially known. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov merely stated that he did not yet know the content of the message from Zelensky.