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Putin pledges free grain, criticizes ‘hypocritical’ Western sanctions for African leaders

At the Russia-Africa summit, President Vladimir Putin revealed that over 70% of Ukrainian grain exported under the Black Sea grain deal went to countries with above-average income.
 Despite facing Western sanctions, which hinder Moscow’s grain and fertilizer exports, Putin assured African leaders of gifting tens of thousands of tonnes of grain. He emphasized Russia’s crucial role in global food security and expressed readiness to replace Ukrainian grain exports to Africa both commercially and as aid.

 

During the summit, Putin offered to provide Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Mali, Somalia, Central African Republic, and Eritrea with 25-50,000 tonnes of free grain each in the next three to four months.

Some participants applauded this initiative, while others questioned the impact of the promised donations, considering the countries’ existing ties with Moscow and their efforts towards food security.

Russia’s engagement with Africa has intensified since its first Africa summit in 2019. Despite criticism over quitting the Black Sea grain deal and its impact on global wheat prices, Putin defended his decision, citing a parallel memorandum that was allegedly ignored.

Comoros President Azali Assoumani, chair of the African Union, called for understanding and dialogue to move forward.

The collapse of the grain deal and Russia’s actions in Ukraine have contributed to a 10% increase in global wheat prices in the past ten days. UN Secretary-General Guterres expressed concern that donations to some countries would not fully address the significant impact on global food prices and security caused by the disruption in the grain market.

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