Admin l Wednesday, November 2, 2022
MOSCOW – President Vladimir Putin has explained major reasons Russia opted to suspend participation in the UN brokered Black Sea Grain Initiative.
Putin spoke prior to Russia’s return to the UN-brokered Black Sea Grain Initiative. He has not issued any statement on Russia’s return. But UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres has emphasised the need to implement the other part of the agreement so as not to hinder free flow of grain and drop in prices of food achieved as a result of the initiative.
However, Putin who was speaking on phone to President of Turkey, Mr. Tayyip Erdogan noted that besides the attack on Russian Black Sea Fleet, noted the failure to fulfill the second part of the package agreements on unblocking Russian agricultural produce and fertiliser exports to global markets remains an issue.
“Also, attention was drawn to the fact that the top-priority goal of delivering food to the neediest countries has not been fulfilled over the three months that these agreements had been in effect”, Putin said.
Besides, Russia’s willingness to supply significant amounts of grain and fertiliser to Africa free of charge was reiterated.
Putin noted that this entire process of exporting grain from the territory of Ukraine was organised under the pretext of securing the interests of the poorest countries.
“We agreed to this exactly for the benefit of the poorest countries”, he said.
Speaking earlier to journalists on his decision to opt out of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Putin said his decision was based on the attempted attack – “the attack on the Black Sea Fleet that failed but was still committed (and we should give credit to our naval crews and thank them, of course, for rising to the occasion and repelling all the attacks), but those drones and unmanned vessels partially entered the corridor used for exporting grain from Ukraine, thus creating a threat to our civilian ships securing the grain exports. And it is our responsibility to ensure their security.
“But what if, I apologise for my blunt words, Ukraine just whacks these ships? Russia will be to blame again, just like now everybody is blabbing about what Russia is doing, without thinking what caused it – and the cause was a threat to this humanitarian corridor.
“I did not see the final statement by the Defence Ministry but I know the general stance. The Defence Minister had the opportunity to report his position to me today, and I agreed. What he said was fair: they create a threat to our naval and civilian vessels. We must protect our civilian vessels.
“Therefore, we did not say we are withdrawing from this operation, no. We have suspended our participation. The UN Secretary-General was one of the organisers of this effort. UN staff are actively involved, for which we are grateful, unquestionably.
“But they should probably also deal with Ukraine, and Ukraine must guarantee that civilian ships and Russia’s support vessels will not be threatened.
“Listen, I do not know if the Defence Ministry explained this or not, but these unmanned vessels are no joke. They are six metres long, I believe, and carry 500 tonnes of explosives. If it hits its target, there will be no grain, no ship, nothing. And we will be to blame.
“This is why the Russian Defence Ministry is correct when it raises the issue of discussing the matter further with the United Nations, and in turn the United Nations is supposed to deal with Ukraine and make sure Ukraine guarantees the security of this corridor. I do not see anything unusual here. It is a matter of aligning positions, work, and obligations – in this case on behalf of our Ukrainian partners”, he said.