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Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday (June 8) backed Russia’s calls to lift sanctions on the country which were imposed on Moscow by the Western countries in the aftermath of the Russia-Ukraine war.
Just like Ukraine, Russia is also a major wheat supplier. However, the exports have been hit by the sanctions, causing an impact on the global supply chain, and threatening a global food crisis. Sanctions have also impeded the export of Russian grain and fertiliser.
Russia has demanded the removal of sanctions in return for unblocking Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. Responding to that, Cavusoglu called the demands for an end to sanctions to help grain onto the world market “legitimate”.
“If we need to open up the international market to Ukrainian grain, we see the removal of obstacles standing in the way of Russia’s exports as a legitimate demand,” he said.
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While speaking during a joint news conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Cavusoglu further said: “Various ideas have been put out for the export of Ukrainian grains to the market and most recently is the UN plan (including) a mechanism that can be created between the UN, Ukraine, Russia and Turkey. We see it as reasonable,” he added. “Of course both Ukraine and Russia must accept it.”
Lavrov said that Moscow was ready to ensure the safe passage of vessels from Ukraine. “We are ready to ensure the safety of ships that leave Ukrainian ports. We are ready to do this in cooperation with our Turkish colleagues,” Lavrov during the presser.
Meanwhile, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio warns that “millions” of people could die of hunger unless Russia unblocks exports of Ukrainian grain to ease global shortages.
“I want to say clearly, we expect clear and concrete signals from Russia, because blocking grain exports means holding hostage and condemning to death millions of children, women and men,” he says after a virtual meeting with Turkey and Lebanon among other countries, alongside G7 president Germany and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation.
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