MYADEL DISTRICT, 2 August (BelTA) – Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko spoke about the Ukrainian grain export deal as he answered journalists' questions, BelTA reports.
"They needed to get out of this situation, in which they themselves got into. They even accused us of it. Well, they met in Istanbul, made a deal and the grain is on its way out. Now they will be able to feed ‘those hungry people in Africa'. Listen, the 20 ships they are talking about will not be enough even for Turkey. Iran is already negotiating with Russia to import grain from the new harvest. It's just games. The media began to spin the famine topic blaming Russia and Belarus for this. When we told them that they were welcome to take it out, they had to act. You will soon see that this topic will go away. It is already gone. Your will see what it was worth. It was a non-issue," the Belarusian leader said.
He called the food deal a way out of the situation created by the United States and its satellites. Aleksandr Lukashenko recalled that until recently they tried to play up the topic of Ukrainian grain as the reason for a looming food crisis in Europe and Africa. Yet, even in the best of times, Ukraine accounted only for 1.5% of grain production in the world. "It's very little, an arithmetic error. They accused both us and Russia of being aggressors, of blocking the export of a huge amount of Ukrainian grain, pinning us the blame for looming famine," the Belarusian leader said.
The head of state noted that he and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin immediately understood what they were about and responded. “We suggested possible routes for transportation, including the cheapest one through Belarus. ‘But they would not want to ask the dictator for help with grain, would they?" he said.
In turn, Russia also offered options for export through the Black Sea, the president recalled.
As BelTA reported, on 22 July multilateral agreements were signed to ease access to global markets for Russian fertilizer and other products and to allow grain exports from Black Sea ports. The documents signed by Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the UN suggest the export of grain from Ukraine, food products and fertilizers along the Black Sea from three ports, including Odessa. It was reported that the first ship with grain left the port of Odessa on 1 August.