Conflicts & War

AU leader meets Putin, says Africa an economic victim of Ukraine war

Moscow, Jun 3 (EFE).- The head of the African Union Macky Sall said during a meeting with Russia’s president Vladimir Putin on Friday that Africa was an economic “victim” of the crisis sparked by the war in Ukraine.

Sall, who is also the president of Senegal, said sanctions against Russia prevented African nations from accessing products such as grain and fertilizers.

“I have come to make you aware that our countries, even if they are far from this situation, are victims on an economic level,” he told Putin during a meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.

He added that the agriculture sector in Africa was “already struggling” and that sanctions on Russia threatened food security in the continent.

The AU head was visiting amid international efforts led by the United Nations and Turkey to facilitate grain and fertilizer exports from Russia and end the blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports.

The Russian military has blocked 22 million tons of grain destined for countries in Africa and Asia, among others, from leaving port cities in the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov, according to Kyiv.

Ukraine has also accused Russia of stealing its crop and selling it illegally.

Western sanctions on Russia over its war in Ukraine have severed much of its commercial supply chain and isolated its banks internationally.

Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, on Tuesday made it clear that the European Union had agreed to exempt agricultural products from the sanctions list, including fertilizers, of which Russia is a leading global provider.

At the meeting, Putin declined to comment on the ongoing food crisis and instead broached Russia’s trade relationship and its humanitarian cooperation with Africa.

Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov earlier claimed Russia was not responsible for the blockade, saying they had been mined by Ukraine, something Western nations have described as misinformation. EFE


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