In a telephone call with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, President Vladimir Putin said Moscow was ready to make a “significant contribution” if the West lifted sanctions on Russia over Ukraine.
Vladimir Putin stressed that the Russian Federation is ready to make significant contributions to overcoming the food crisis through grain and fertilizer exports, subject to the lifting of politically motivated restrictions by the West, the Kremlin said in a statement following the call. .
He added that Putin also spoke of “steps taken by the Ukrainian side to ensure the safety of navigation, including the opening of humanitarian corridors every day for the departure of civilian ships from the Azov and Black Sea ports.”
Putin has been described as “baseless” by Russia’s blaming of food shortages on world markets.
Draghi told a news conference that “the purpose of this telephone call was to ask if anything could be done to unblock the wheat now in the Ukrainian depot.”
He suggested “cooperation between Russia and Ukraine in lifting the blockade of Black Sea ports” where wheat is at risk of rotting – “on the one hand to clean these ports and on the other to ensure there are no clashes during clearing.”
Draghi said Russia had “a readiness to move in this direction” and would call Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “to see if there was any preparation”.
Asked if he had seen any glimmer of hope for peace, the Italian prime minister said no.
Russia imposed unprecedented sanctions on February 24 after Putin ordered troops to be sent to neighboring Ukraine.
Sanctions and military action have disrupted supplies of fertilizer, wheat and other commodities from both Russia and Ukraine.
These two countries produce 30 percent of the global wheat supply.
(Except for the title, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published from a syndicated feed.)