STORY: Russian President Vladimir Putin has called for a review of the U.N.-brokered deal that allowed Ukraine’s grain exports to resume.
He says the deal is delivering produce to the EU and Turkey, at the expense of developing countries.
"Just as many European countries acted in previous centuries - as colonialists - this is how they continue acting today. They have once again cheated the developing countries and continue cheating them. It is obvious that this approach will only intensify the scale of the global food crisis, to our great regret. This may lead to an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe."
Putin’s comments will raise fears that the pact is set to unravel.
He also accused the West of failing to implement measures meant to ease Russian exports of food.
But the allegations were dismissed by Ukraine, which said Putin was just looking for new opportunities for economic blackmail.
Mykhailo Podolyak is a presidential adviser:
“The agreement reached in Istanbul between Ukraine, Turkey, United Nations and Russia, Turkey and United Nations covered one thing only – the passage of transport ships through the Black Sea. That’s all, there was nothing else in the agreement. Russia cannot say where and how to send Ukrainian grain, just as Ukraine is not saying where, how and under what agreements to send the Russian grain.”
Ukraine hopes to export 60 million tonnes of grain over the coming months.
U.N. data show 88 ships have set sail so far or are due to do so, with Turkey receiving the most grain.
However, the country is an intermediary for onward shipments.
Some cargoes have gone to countries including China, India, Iran, Egypt and Sudan.
Putin’s criticism singles out the fact that just two shipments have been assigned to the U.N.’s World Food Programme.
Those vessels went to Djibouti and Yemen.
World wheat prices jumped following the Russian leader’s comments.