Putin: Ukrainian Sea Mines, Western Sanctions to Blame for Lack of Food Shipments, Not Russia

Putin
ALEXEY DRUZHININ/AFP via Getty Images

MOSCOW (AP) – Russian President Vladimir Putin says that Ukraine should remove sea mines from areas near its ports to allow safe shipping.

Putin made the statement in Friday’s call with Austria’s Chancellor Karl Nehammer, according to the Kremlin readout of the conversation. It said that Putin and Nehammer “had a detailed exchange of views on issues regarding food security” with Putin rejecting Western claims that Russia’s actions have exacerbated a global food crisis.

The Kremlin noted that “Putin emphasized that attempts to blame Russia for difficulties regarding shipments of agricultural products to global markets are unfounded.” It added that the Russian leader “gave a detailed explanation of the real roots behind those problems that emerged, in particular, because of the U.S. and the EU sanctions against Russia.”

The U.S. and other Western allies have rejected the Russian demand for the sanctions to be lifted and accused Moscow of blocking grain supplies from Ukraine to global markets — accusations the Kremlin has denied.

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