Most EU nations are not eager to purchase Kiev’s produce despite an abundance, Russia’s foreign minister says Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov attends a press conference after addressing the 78th Session of the UN General Assembly at the UN Headquarters, in New York City, the United States. © Sputnik / Valeriy Sharifulin

The European Commission should buy the Ukrainian agricultural produce that the bloc says it doesn’t need and ship it to African countries, Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov has said at the UN General Assembly (UNGA).

Western allies have repeatedly accused Moscow of trapping millions of tons of grain in Ukrainian Black Sea ports and of exacerbating a global food crisis, particularly across the African continent.

“Since the European Commission is wasting tens of billions of dollars on Ukraine… it can buy the grain that Ukraine wants to sell and EU countries don’t want [to buy] for reasons of competitiveness, and send it to Africa,” Lavrov told the UNGA.

According to Russia’s top diplomat, Ukrainian agricultural produce is “being supplied to European countries in abundance” but many of them don’t want to buy it, because “they have their own farmers and don’t want them to go bust due to competition.”

He also questioned the integrity of last year’s grain deal, pointing out during his speech at the UN that only 3% of the grain that was moved under this deal had reached the poorest countries in Africa.

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In addition, Lavrov said that some 260,000 metric tons of Russian fertilizers have been impounded in EU ports since 2022 and that Moscow was ready to ship these fertilizers to African nations for free.

Russian fertilisers became the crucial point in talks over resuming the Black Sea Grain Deal that was clinched last year between Russia and Ukraine and brokered by the UN and Türkiye. The deal was aimed at allowing Ukraine to export grain from its ports to countries in Asia, the Middle East and Africa, in exchange for lifting Western sanctions that prevented Russian agricultural exports.

However, Moscow withdrew from the agreement in July, saying that the West was still making it impossible for Russia to ship food and fertilizer.

Lavrov said that the Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, Sergey Vershinin, is currently discussing the key issues related to the deal with UN representatives. He stressed also that Western states would be misleading UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres by saying that the grain deal was about to resume.

According to the minister, the deal can resume once Russia’s demands regarding its agricultural exports are fulfilled.

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