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African Union Calls on Russia to Reinstate Ukrainian Grain Deal

The African Union called today to urgently reinstate a United Nations-brokered deal allowing Ukraine to export millions of tons of grain that was terminated at Russia’s behest.

“The problem of grains and fertilizers concerns everyone,” Comoros President Azali Assoumani, who heads the 55-nation African Union, told Russian state newswire RIA Novosti. He was speaking in St. Petersburg, where Russian President Vladimir Putin is hosting a summit with African leaders.

Putin last week pulled out of the Black Sea Grain Initiative that had allowed Ukraine — one of the world’s breadbaskets — to export grains and oilseeds through three Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea: Odesa, Chornomorsk and Yuzhny/Pivdenny.

Russia, which has waged all-out war on Ukraine for 17 months, has since launched a series of air strikes against the country’s port facilities and reimposed a maritime blockade — making countries that need to import food more reliant on Russia and increasing the risk that they will go hungry.

“We will talk about this in St. Petersburg, we will discuss it with Putin to see how we can restart this agreement,” Assoumani added.

Putin is meeting with 17 African leaders on Thursday and Friday, as the increasingly isolated Russian leader attempts to maintain relations with a continent with close historical ties to Moscow.


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