A decision by the Baltic states to prevent the movement of cargo ships carrying Russian fertilizer which are trapped in EU ports, ignores the economic interests of nations in need, President Vladimir Putin said on Saturday, characterizing the move as “irrational behavior.”
According to the head of state, some 200,000 tons of Russian fertilizer are still stuck in Baltic ports.
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The move is allegedly motivated by a reluctance among EU member states to allow Moscow “to generate revenues from selling those shipments,” Putin said, highlighting that Russian companies were prepared to give away the fertilizer for free.
“It’s just irrational behavior,” he lamented, adding that the steps taken by the Baltic states are impossible to explain, as they’ve blocked the cargoes “just because they’re Russian.”
The president said the EU countries “don’t give a fig about developing nations and the world’s poorest states,” adding that the West’s emphasis on Ukrainian grain shipments are just a “cover,” which makes the EU policy “twice as amoral.”
Putin stressed that the main beneficiaries of last year’s grain-movement deal were major traders, who’d managed to purchase Ukrainian grain at a hefty discount and then sell it at market prices “to prosperous countries.”
“How are the interests of developing countries and starving peoples related to this?” he asked, pointing out that the share of Ukrainian grain in world markets is less than 5%, while the share of grain from Russia is more than 20%.
Allowing Russian fertilizers to reach global markets was part of a landmark Black Sea safe-grain-shipment deal reached through mediation by the UN and Türkiye in July 2022, which unblocked Ukraine’s southern ports and allowed Kiev to begin exporting grain, while also granting concessions to Russia.
Earlier this month, Moscow refused to renew that deal, complaining that the West had failed to keep its promises on reconnecting its banks to the SWIFT international payment system, restarting a key ammonia pipeline, permitting imports of agricultural machinery and parts, and unblocking transportation insurance. In addition to the West failing to follow through on its end of the deal, Moscow claimed that Kiev had used the humanitarian corridors to funnel weapons into its Black Sea ports.