Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin met with the Permanent Members of the Russian Security Council today and cautioned the Foreign Ministry on further negotiation on the Ukrainian humanitarian corridor which has so far allowed around 80 ships to depart the Black Sea.
Taking part in the meeting were Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko, State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, Deputy Chairman of the Security Council Dmitry Medvedev, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Executive Office Anton Vaino, Secretary of the Security Council Nikolai Patrushev, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, Director of the Federal Security Service Alexander Bortnikov, and Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service Sergei Naryshkin.
He said: “Now we hear that some of our partners are questioning what was said about those grain supplies from Ukraine. But we have every move recorded, there can be no mistake there. Of the 87 ships that left Ukrainian ports carrying grain, 32 remained in Turkey, and I believe that was a fair part of the deal because Turkey was the country that arranged this entire process and therefore is certainly entitled to this. Three went to South Africa, three to Israel, seven to Egypt, 30 to the European Union, and only two ships headed for the poorest countries under UN food programmes – for Yemen and Djibouti. They carried 60,000 tonnes of grain, or a mere 3 percent.”
This criticism heightens speculation that President Putin is looking for a reason to halt Ukrainian grain exports as he attempts to raise economic pressure on nations friendly to Ukraine. The Russian Federation is already doing this through their energy exports as demonstrated by the announcement that Nord Stream I will be shut down just before the European Winter sets in, he also announced that any nation that employs oil price caps will not be traded with. This messaging comes at the same time as two Ukrainian counter offensives, which have been launched at a critical time, before Winter, and before EU partners will most likely soften their stance on Russian energy imports.
President Putin also raised the issue of EU sanctions concerning Russian fertilizer shipments which are covered under the most recent August 10th tranche. The sanctions prohibit EU ship owners and insurance agencies from facilitating the transfer of Russian fertilizers and coals to any nation. President Putin had this comment:
”I want the Foreign Ministry to work with our partners and the UN, which joined the efforts to address these issues. I believe discrimination against Asian, African or Latin American countries is unacceptable. By all means, we will review our European partners’ proposals regarding fertiliser supplies to them, but we need to get our fertiliser supplies to other countries on track too. By the way, I want the Foreign Ministry to act in support of the Belarusian fertiliser supplies as well.”
This strategic messaging is meant to provide teeth to further Foreign Ministry negotiations and attempt to paint the EU as discriminatory against struggling nations which rely on Russian food stuffs and agricultural products.
Nonetheless, this is the official stance of the Russian Federation President and should be taken seriously by foreign policy analysts while they attempt to decipher motives and reach policy decisions.