Russia remains a reliable supplier of grain in spite of obstacles created by Western countries, according to Kremlin on Thursday.
It also said that food shortages in Africa had nothing to do with Moscow.
In July, Russia quit a year-old agreement that had allowed Ukraine, one of the world’s biggest exporters, to ship grain from its Black Sea ports in spite of Russia’s invasion and military control of Ukrainian waters.
When asked in a briefing about reported accusations by the head of Ukraine’s Security Council that Moscow was causing hunger in Africa, where many countries depend on imported grain, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said:
“Those accusations are completely baseless, they are wrong and they are a deliberate distortion of reality.
“The shortage of grains and food shortages on the African continent have nothing to do with our country.
“Russia, even now, in spite of the fact that the deal itself no longer works, takes a responsible position: you know about the initiative to send free grain to the poorest countries of the African continent,” Peskov said.
While exiting the agreement, Russia claimed that Western sanctions were impeding its own food and fertilizer exports, in violation of a separate agreement.
Since then, Russian President Vladimir Putin has promised to send up to 50,000 metric tonnes of grain to each of six African countries for free, a sum unlikely to make a significant dent in the continent’s food shortages.
Peskov said there had been no concrete results from a proposed scheme to ship Russian grain to Turkey and Qatar.
As an alternative to the Black Sea grain deal, Russia proposed a plan in which Qatar would guarantee free grain deliveries to poor countries.
However, Turkey has been attempting to persuade Moscow to return to the agreement that it mediated.
Two Turks sources say Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan will meet Putin on September 4 in the Russian Black Sea resort of Sochi for talks focused on Black Sea grain exports.
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