Russia commences free grain deliveries to Africa
Russia has initiated the promised free shipment of up to 200,000 tonnes of grain to six African countries, as announced by President Vladimir Putin in July, according to Russia’s agriculture minister, Dmitry Patrushev.
In a statement on Telegram, he revealed that shipments to Burkina Faso and Somalia had already departed Russian ports, with additional shipments to Eritrea, Zimbabwe, Mali, and the Central African Republic set to follow soon.
In July, during a summit with African leaders, President Vladimir Putin committed to providing free grain to six countries. This promise came shortly after Moscow’s withdrawal from a deal that had permitted Ukraine to export grain from its Black Sea ports despite the ongoing conflict with Russia.
The deal, known as the Black Sea grain initiative, aimed to lower global market prices, but Putin argued that it was ineffective in providing supplies to the countries in most urgent need.
Putin reported that Russia exported about 60 million tonnes of grain last year, while U.N. chief Antonio Guterres characterized the commitments of free grain as “a handful of donations.”
After withdrawing from the agreement, Russia has consistently targeted Ukrainian ports and grain storage facilities through repeated bombings. Kyiv has reported the destruction of hundreds of thousands of tons of cereals.
However, Ukraine announced on Friday that it successfully transported 4.4 million tonnes of cargo, including 3.2 million tonnes of grain, using a new shipping corridor established in August.