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Putin ready to facilitate the export of grains from Ukraine: Kremlin

Putin ready to facilitate the export of grains from Ukraine: Kremlin

According to a Kremlin summary of conversations with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated that Russia is willing to enable the free export of grain from Ukrainian ports in conjunction with Turkey.

Russia and Ukraine are responsible for 29% of global wheat exports, primarily via the Black Sea, and 80% of global sunflower oil exports. Ukraine is a major corn exporter as well.

According to a Kremlin readout of the meeting, Putin stated that global food shortages were the product of “short-sighted” Western actions and that Russia was ready to sell considerable amounts of fertilizers and food if sanctions against Moscow were repealed.

“During the discussion of the situation in Ukraine,” the Kremlin said, “focus was placed on maintaining safe navigation in the Black and Azov seas, as well as eradicating the mine threat in their waters.”

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“Vladimir Putin expressed Russian readiness to enable unfettered commodities transportation by sea in consultation with Turkish partners.” This is also true for grain exports from Ukrainian ports.”

Putin did not specify which Ukrainian ports he was referring to. Chornomorsk, Mykolaiv, Odesa, Kherson, and Yuzhny are the primary grain export ports in Ukraine.

Erdogan urged Putin that peace must be achieved as soon as possible and that if an agreement is made, Turkey is willing to participate in a “monitoring mechanism” between Moscow, Kyiv, and the United Nations.

The grain market has been roiled since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, with Chicago wheat futures hitting a record high in March oversupply fears.

This year, Moscow expects a record crop, with shipments shipping out of Russia’s open Black Sea ports, while Ukraine’s ports are still blocked by the Russian navy.

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Hundreds of container ships are stranded in Ukrainian ports, preventing the shipment of wheat, sunflower oil, and other supplies, as well as crop fertilizer.

Mines planted by Russian and Ukrainian forces have also restricted navigation in the Black Sea.

Export race

Ukraine is attempting to export its vast grain stocks by road, river, and rail in order to help avert a global food crisis, but an official from Ukraine’s agriculture ministry told Dailion last week that the country has no chance of meeting its goals unless Russia lifts the blockade of its Black Sea ports.

Before Russia moved soldiers into Ukraine, the country could export up to six million tonnes of wheat, barley, and maize per month, but exports fell to only 300,000 tonnes in March and 1.1 million tonnes in April.

Russia and Ukraine are responsible for 29% of global wheat exports, primarily via the Black Sea, and 80% of global sunflower oil exports.

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Ukraine is also a key exporter of corn, barley, and rapeseed oil, while Russia and Belarus – both of which have backed Moscow in the conflict and are subject to sanctions – account for more than 40% of global exports of the crop nutrient potash.

Russia has taken control of some of Ukraine’s most important seaports, and its navy commands vital shipping lanes in the Black Sea, where widespread mining has rendered commercial shipping hazardous.

Sanctions have also made it difficult for Russian exporters to get vessels to transport their goods to international markets.

Putin has stated that due to a projected record crop of 87 million tonnes, Russia will expand wheat exports in the upcoming July-June season.

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