Not a single ship carrying Ukrainian grain has reached starving African or Asian countries, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has expressed doubts about the sincerity of Western countries’ concerns about global food security, noting that ships loaded with grain from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports are heading mainly to the West, rather than to starving African or Asian countries.
Speaking at a press briefing on Thursday, Ivan Nechaev, deputy director of the ministry’s information and press department, said that “So far, not a single ship carrying grain has reached the shores of starving countries in Africa or South Asia.”
“They mainly go to Western ports, and the range of exported goods is mainly not wheat, but corn kernels and sunflower oil, which casts doubt on the sincerity of these Western voices that world food security depends on the grain deal”, ” Nechaev said, referring to the recent agreement between Moscow and kyiv which allowed the resumption of grain exports from Ukrainian ports.
Prior to the deal, kyiv and its Western supporters accused Moscow of deliberately blocking food shipments and thereby threatening global food security. Moscow has repeatedly denied the claims, saying Ukraine made shipping impossible by laying naval mines in the waterways around the ports.
The Foreign Ministry spokesman also discussed the situation of the freighter Razoni, flying the flag of Sierra Leone, which left Odessa on August 1 carrying 26,000 metric tons of chicken feed bound for Lebanon. The ship was turned away from Beirut on Monday, after the Lebanese buyer refused to accept the shipment, saying it was months too late.
“It turned out that there was not the wheat on board that the Lebanese needed, but corn, fodder corn”, Nechaev said.
Nechaev’s remarks on the destinations of Ukrainian grain echo a recent New York Times article. On Tuesday, the outlet noted that since the Istanbul deal came into effect on August 1, none of the ten ships that left Ukrainian ports were bound for Yemen, Somalia or other countries. confronted with “Catastrophic levels of hunger.”
Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky told his Botswanan counterpart Mokgweetsi Masisi on Monday that Ukraine was committed to staying “a reliable food exporter.”
Emphasizing that Russia is “commits to respecting its obligations and looks forward to the effective realization of the Istanbul agreement”, Nechaev noted that the agreement includes agreements not only on the export of grain from Ukrainian ports, but also on the normalization of Russian food exports to the world market.
While the implementation of one part of the agreement has been underway for a week and a half now, the other element has yet to be fulfilled, Nechaev said, expressing hope that Western countries “create the necessary conditions” for access of Russian fertilizers and food to world markets.