The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) said in today’s early morning intelligence update: “On 25 May, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Andrei Rudenko, said Russia is ready to provide a humanitarian corridor for vessels carrying food through the Black Sea in return for the lifting of sanctions.
“Russia has demonstrated is it prepared to leverage global food security for its own political aim and then present itself as the reasonable actor and blame the West for any failure.”
It comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin told German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday he was prepared to look for ways to ship grain stuck in Ukrainian ports during Moscow’s military campaign.
According to the Kremlin, Putin told the two leaders in a phone conversation: “Russia is ready to help find options for the unhindered export of grain, including the export of Ukrainian grain from the Black Sea ports.
“An increase in the supply of Russian fertilisers and agricultural products will also help reduce tensions on the global food market, which, of course, will require the removal of the relevant sanctions.”
The blockage of key ports that usually export essential produce has led to skyrocketing prices and is fuelling a global food crisis – particularly in the Middle East and North Africa.
The MoD added: “Russia’s” attempt to achieve a reduction in the severity of international sanctions also highlights the stresses sanctions are placing on the regime.”