The Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea are blocked, grain is not exported by sea. However, Russia only wants to give up control of the waters if the economic sanctions are lifted.
Russia has tied a possible opening of Ukrainian ports to grain exports to a partial lifting of Western sanctions against Moscow. "If our partners want to reach a solution, then the problems associated with lifting sanctions imposed on Russian exports must also be solved," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko said, according to the Interfax agency.
The international community has been demanding that Russia allow the export of Ukrainian grain for weeks. Ukraine complains that its ports in the Black Sea are blocked by the Russian Navy. Both countries are among the largest wheat exporters and play an important role in global food security.
There are complex reasons for the current food crisis and the high prices, said Rudenko. The primary cause of the crisis is the US and EU sanctions "which prevent normal free trade, including with food, including wheat, fertilizer and other things". Russia had repeatedly criticized the Western sanctions in the wake of the aggressive war against Ukraine as "illegal".
Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov said the crisis was not new but was exacerbated by the "unilateral and illegitimate anti-Russian sanctions". For example, supply chains were destroyed and international payment transactions were disrupted. The West had also imposed sanctions on numerous Russian banks. In principle, Russia is ready to fulfill its international contracts on the export of agricultural products, fertilizers, energy sources and other goods, Antonov said.