Russia-Africa Summit: Putin Pledges Free Grain to 6 African Countries after Quitting from Ukraine Grain Deal

Russia promises to provide food-insecure countries with free grain. Images: Mahmud Turkia & Pavel Bednyakov
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin pledged to provide six food-insecure African countries with free grain.
  • This pledge comes after Russia controversially withdrew from the Ukraine grain deal.
  • Putin blamed Western countries for the global food crisis and the collapsed grain deal.

ST. PETERSBURG – The Russia-Africa Summit took an unexpected turn, with Russian President Vladimir Putin pledging to supply six food-insecure African countries with free grain.

Putin’s pledge comes after Moscow did a turnabout on the Black Sea grain deal with Ukraine to allow the country to export goods to various countries without disturbance.

Russian President Vladimir Putin blames Western countries for global food crisis

During his keynote address, Putin placed the global food crisis blame on Western countries and not his country’s invasion of Ukraine, reports the New York Times.

Putin said the grain deal collapsed because the West failed to hold up its end of the agreement. He added that nothing was done to clear the way for Russian food and fertilizer exports. Russia withdrew from the grain deal last week, with caused a global outcry because countries that depend on Ukraine’s grain exports would suffer the most. However, Putin declared that those countries would receive free grain for the next three to four months.

He said 25 000 to 50 000 tonnes of grain will be supplied to Burkina Faso, the Central African Republic, Eritrea, Mali, Somalia and Zimbabwe.

United Nations speaks out against the Black Sea deal collapse

However, the United Nations has warned that Russia’s donation will not replace the Black Sea deal.

According to Reuters, global wheat prices have risen by at least 10% since Russia quit the grain deal and began attacking Ukrainian ports and grain infrastructure on the Black Sea and Danube River.

“It is clear that when taking out of the market millions and millions of tonnes of grains it is clear that will lead to higher prices. So it’s not with a handful of donations to some countries that we correct this dramatic impact that affects everybody, everywhere,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Bloomberg reports that Ukraine has lost $1 billion (about R17 billion) worth of grain since the attacks.

Zimbabwe welcomes free grain from Russia

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa accepted Russia’s offer to supply the country with free grain but claimed the country was food secure, reports Reuters.

However, Sawadogo Mahamadi, head of Burkina Faso’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said Russia’s offer was much needed for countries like his because they are dealing with food security issues and humanitarian threats.

Russia bombs Ukraine grain hours after backing out of Black Sea deal, attacks to affect exports to Africa

Briefly News previously reported that hours after backing out of the acclaimed Black Sea deal, Russia began targeting Ukraine’s grain exports through a series of missile attacks. The deal between the two warring countries was brokered by the United Nations and guaranteed safe passage for Ukraine’s exports across the Black Sea. The attacks started on Tuesday, 18 July, and continued through to Thursday, 20 July, when grain terminals and port infrastructure in Odesa were targeted.

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