Putin, African Union head meet Friday to discuss food crisis | Russia-Ukraine war News

Talks are anticipated to concentrate on grain provides and political cooperation amid Russia’s standoff with the West over Ukraine.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will host the pinnacle of the African Union for talks centered on grain provides and political cooperation amid Kremlin’s standoff with the West over Ukraine.

Washington and Brussels have imposed unprecedented sanctions towards Moscow over the invasion of Ukraine, pushing Putin to hunt new markets and strengthen ties with international locations in Africa and Asia.

Cereal costs in Africa, the world’s poorest continent, have surged due to the stoop in exports from Ukraine, sharpening the influence of battle and local weather change and sparking fears of social unrest.

On Friday, Putin will obtain Senegalese President Macky Sall, who chairs the African Union, at his Black Sea residence in Sochi.

The go to is aimed toward “liberating up shares of cereals and fertilisers, the blockage of which significantly impacts African international locations”, together with easing the Ukraine battle, Sall’s workplace stated on Thursday.

Sall can be accompanied by the president of the African Union Fee.

The Kremlin stated talks would handle “problems with Russia’s interplay with the African Union, together with the enlargement of political dialogue, financial and humanitarian cooperation”.

“The present worldwide agenda” may even be mentioned, it added.

Moscow’s army marketing campaign in Ukraine and a barrage of worldwide sanctions on Russia have disrupted provides of fertiliser, wheat and different commodities from each international locations, pushing up costs for meals and gasoline, particularly in growing nations.

‘Unprecedented disaster’

Ships loaded with grain stay blocked in Ukraine, which earlier than February was a number one exporter of corn and wheat and alone accounted for 50 p.c of world commerce in sunflower seeds and oil.

Putin has stated Moscow is able to search for methods to ship grain caught in Ukrainian ports however has demanded the West elevate sanctions.

Meals costs in Africa have already exceeded these within the aftermath of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings and 2008 meals riots.

The UN has stated Africa faces an “unprecedented” disaster attributable to the battle.

Sall earlier urged European Union leaders to assist ease the disaster on key commodities and stated their resolution to expel Russian banks from the SWIFT monetary messaging system might damage meals provides to the continent.

Sall, nonetheless, acknowledged Russia’s blockade of the Ukrainian metropolis of Odesa had harmed meals exports, and backed UN-led efforts to free the port.

In 2019, Putin hosted dozens of African leaders in Sochi in a bid to reassert Russia’s affect on the continent.

Although by no means a colonial energy in Africa, Moscow was a vital participant on the continent within the Soviet period, backing independence actions and coaching a era of African leaders.

Russia’s ties with Africa declined with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and lately, China has emerged as a key overseas energy on the continent.

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