Putin says he wants to cooperate to allow grain exports to Ukraine

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Russia is ready to cooperate in the “unconditional” export of grain from Ukraine. The Kremlin announced this on Saturday following a three-way phone conversation between President Vladimir Putin, his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz. For the first time since March, the trio held consultations in this way.

“Russia is ready to help find options for unfettered grain exports, including Ukrainian grain from Black Sea ports,” the Kremlin statement said.

There were reports from the German side that Putin would be ready to clear mines to allow ships to access Ukrainian ports. This would not lead to enemy Russian actions. The United Nations should play a central role in the conclusion of an agreement and its implementation.

The phone call lasted eighty minutes. Macron and Scholz urged Putin to negotiate directly with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

They also called for an immediate ceasefire and the withdrawal of the Russian army from eastern and southern Ukraine. They also called on Putin to release the 2,500 fighters captured during the seizure of the Azovstal complex in Mariupol.

Putin, in turn, warned of further “destabilizing” the situation due to continued Western arms supplies to Ukraine.

Ukraine and Russia both have problems with the export of grain, for example, because of the war. Ukraine is considered a major exporter of mainly maize and wheat, but production and exports are seriously hampered by the fighting. Russia is also struggling to get rid of its grain and fertilizers. This is largely due to Western sanctions. The two countries produce a third of the world’s wheat, causing problems in the global food market.

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