President Vladimir Putin has told his Turkish counterpart that Russia was ready to facilitate the shipment of grain out of blockaded Ukrainian ports in co-ordination with Turkey, the Kremlin said in a statement.

“Vladimir Putin noted the readiness of the Russian side to facilitate unimpeded maritime transit of cargo in co-ordination with our Turkish partners. This also applies to the export of grain from Ukrainian ports,” the Kremlin said on Monday, summarising the phone call with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The issue of demining the Black and Azov seas was also discussed, the statement said. Ukraine and some of its western partners have accused Russia of escalating a growing global food crisis by blockading Ukrainian ports and preventing the export of grain and other commodities.

Russia has demanded that some sanctions against it be lifted before it will increase its export of agricultural products and fertilisers, which could ease the pressure on global food supplies.

“In light of the problems on the world food market caused by the short-sighted financial and economic policies of western states,” the Kremlin said, summarising the call, “it was confirmed that Russia could export significant volumes of fertilisers and agricultural products if the relevant anti-Russian sanctions were lifted.”

By 4difm

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