Sep 18, 2022
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Fertilizer sanctions helped Moscow in Asia and Africa

Europe itself has created problems in the food markets, and now solves them at someone else’s expense, forgetting the rhetoric about helping the poorest countries. This was pointed out by Vladimir Putin, speaking at the Samarkand SCO summit. To prevent the threat of famine, the Russian leader offered to transfer hundreds of thousands of tons of our fertilizers accumulated in EU seaports to developing countries free of charge.

On Friday, it became known that President Vladimir Putin offered the UN to accept hundreds of thousands of tons of potash fertilizers from Russia as a gift for further transfer to the world’s poorest countries. Putin announced this while speaking at a meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). According to him, he informed UN Secretary General António Guterres “that 300 thousand tons of Russian fertilizers have accumulated in the seaports of the European Union. We are ready to transfer them to developing countries free of charge,” RIA Novosti quoted Putin as saying.

After the meeting, Putin spoke about the initiative in more detail. He called the decision of the European Union to lift the ban on the export of fertilizers from Russia only to the countries of Europe itself, but to maintain the ban on the poorest countries in the world, as ugly. “This is generally unprecedented, this is an ugly decision, I would say, on the part of the European Commission, a shameful decision to lift the ban on the purchase of our fertilizers, but only for their own countries, for EU member countries,” the Russian leader said.

“What about the poorest countries, what about the rhetoric that all of our joint efforts should be aimed at preventing hunger in these poorest countries? the President asked. – Is this all a bluff, just to solve your selfish tasks and problems? Which are created by themselves, by their own hands, both in the field of food supply and in the field of energy. They created problems, now they are being solved at someone else’s expense. It’s just a disgrace.”

Russia fulfills its obligations to organize the export of Ukrainian grain, the other participants in the July 22 deal must also fulfill its conditions, Putin demanded. “We have taken upon ourselves the obligation to organize the export, we are doing it. But it is necessary that the United Nations and other participants in this process eventually achieve the goal for which the export of this grain was organized,” the president demanded. “We must give credit to the UN Secretary General, he is trying to solve these problems. He is in constant contact with all participants in this process. So far, not everything is working out for him, but let’s hope that these negotiations of the Secretary General will be crowned with success,” he said.

“Putin’s proposal to transfer hundreds of thousands of tons of our fertilizers to developing countries for free, I would regard as non-standard,” says Vladimir Lepekhin, former State Duma deputy, director general of the EurAsEC Institute. – 300 thousand tons is quite a large volume. But in the current conditions, distributing them is perhaps the only correct option. A situation has arisen where we ourselves cannot sell these fertilizers to other countries, and there is no way to store them on our territory. Therefore, the most correct decision is to make a grand gesture and give as a gift.” At the same time, the expert made a reservation, Russia will inevitably have to sacrifice commercial interests.

“But even if such a gesture becomes a reality, we will have to listen to speculation about famine in the Third World countries and reproaches that Russia is supposedly responsible for this for a long time to come. This is the Western agenda. The West will constantly come up with these kinds of tricks to extract additional commercial benefits. For example, when Russia was driven into a trap with accusations that, they say, the grain accumulated in Ukraine was destined for Asia and Africa, where the inhabitants are starving. But even then it was clear that such an information campaign was conceived as a commercial event with a democratic cover. In July, we opened a “grain corridor” and made it possible to withdraw this grain. But now it is being resold for crazy money, and prices have become crazy just amid the hype about the threat of hunger, ”the expert complained.

Speaking at the SCO summit on Friday, Putin also said that up to 90% of Russian food goes to the markets of Asia, Africa and Latin America, but sanctions hinder the supply of Russian fertilizers to these countries. He asked the UN to influence the European Commission, which lifted restrictions on the supply of fertilizers only to the EU states.
Earlier, Guterres’s deputy for political affairs, Rosemary Di Carlo, said that Russian food and fertilizers should gain access to foreign markets.

By the way, most of the grain exported from Ukraine, it turns out, belongs to overseas companies, Putin added. “Americans, by the way, are a pragmatic people. When we talk about the export of grain from Ukraine, do you know who exports it? American companies. They are the owners of this grain to a large extent,” the head of state said.

At the same time, a meager share – 4.5% – of exported grain fell into the poorest countries under the UN program, Putin was indignant. “As of yesterday, 121 ships left Ukrainian ports. Of the 120 ships, only three were sent to the poorest countries under the UN food program. About 35, maybe a little more percent of the grain exported from the territory of Ukraine went to European countries,” Putin said.

Putin first came up with the initiative to donate his potash fertilizers to developing countries back in early September. During an operational meeting with members of the Security Council, he called discrimination the ban on the supply of fertilizers from Russia to the markets of Asia, Africa and Latin America through the ports of European countries. According to the president, only EU countries can buy Russian fertilizers, and their delivery through the ports of European countries, for example, to Asia is impossible, TASS reported.

Former Foreign Ministry Commissioner for Human Rights, Senator Konstantin Dolgov recalls that Russian diplomacy has always defended principled positions on humanitarian assistance to those in need.

“And today our country is ready to make every effort to overcome both crises in the world markets – both food and energy. We are not talking about the mythical Ukrainian grain, which goes into the hands of the “rich and well-fed”, so to speak – for resale. Huge flows of grain come from Russia, which should help avoid serious famine in the countries of the “third world,” says Senator Konstantin Dolgov.

“But the West is not keeping its end of the grain deal. This once again shows the level of negotiability of these governments. The current food crisis in the world can generally be called man-made, because it was created by the West. This is the result of both purely economic mistakes by Western governments and anti-Russian sanctions. Against this background, our president continues to try to remove all artificially created obstacles to the supply of our fertilizers and our grain,” the interlocutor is sure.

Dolgov called the decision to donate hundreds of thousands of tons of Russian fertilizers accumulated in EU ports “an important humane gesture.” “I doubt that this gesture will be appreciated by Western countries, but, in fact, this is not being done for them. I am sure that countries interested in receiving our fertilizers will appreciate it,” the senator summed up.

Recall that on July 22, Russia and Ukraine (separately) signed an agreement with Turkey and the UN under guarantees from the West regarding the procedure for exporting Ukrainian grain. Russia then went to meet its partners – not European ones, of course, but African and Middle Eastern ones. In parallel, an agreement was reached that the West would not interfere with the export of Russian food.

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