In a news bulletin Interfax news reported, Russia said sanctions by the West will have to be reviewed if it were to heed a U.N. appeal to open access to Ukraine’s Black Sea ports so that grain could be exported.
On Wednesday, the U.N.’s food chief David Beasley had appealed to Russian President Vladimir Putin, saying: “If you have any heart at all, please open these ports.”
Beasley’s World Food Programme feeds some 125 million people and buys 50% of its grain from Ukraine.
Interfax has quoted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko as saying, “You have to not only appeal to the Russian Federation but also look deeply at the whole complex of reasons that caused the current food crisis and, in the first instance, these are the sanctions that have been imposed against Russia by the U.S. and the EU that interfere with normal free trade, encompassing food products including wheat, fertilisers and others.”
Russia and Ukraine together account for around a third of global wheat supplies.
Ukraine is also a major exporter of sunflower oil, corn, barley, and rapeseed oil.
Russia and Belarus account for more than 40% of global exports of the crop nutrient potash.