Ukraine: Host warns of bread shortages following wheat blockade
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Dmitry Medvedev, former President of Russia, has warned the country could start supplying wheat only to “friendly” countries. Writing on social media, Mr Medvedev said he wanted to outline “some simple but important points about food security in Russia” in the wake of sanctions.
He continued: “We will only be supplying food and agriculture products to our friends.
“Fortunately we have plenty of them, and they are not in Europe or North America at all.”
Russia primarily supplies wheat to Africa and the Middle East, with the EU and Ukraine being its main competitors.”
However, Russia and Ukraine account for nearly two-thirds of global wheat exports between them.
Russia alone accounts for more than 18 percent of the world’s international wheat exports, meaning the threats could trigger a global supply shortage.
In his statement, Medvedev added that supplies to “friends” will be both in roubles and their national currency in agreed proportions.
This comes after Putin demanded that payments for Russian gas from “unfriendly countries” be made in rubles.
He threatened to cut off contracts with these nations if his demands were not met.
Putin said: “In order to purchase Russian natural gas, they must open ruble accounts in Russian banks. It is from these accounts that payments will be made for gas delivered starting from tomorrow (Friday).
“If such payments are not made, we will consider this a default on the part of buyers, with all the ensuing consequences.”
He added: “Nobody sells us anything for free, and we are not going to do charity either – that is, existing contracts will be stopped.”
However, European countries hit out at Putin’s demands, with Germany describing it as “blackmail”.
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Germany’s Finance Minister Robert Habeck said: “It is important for us not to give a signal that we will be blackmailed by Putin.”
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson said that paying for Russian gas in rubles was “not something we will be looking to do”.
Russia’s threats over the supply of gas and wheat come in the wake of Western sanctions on the country, issued in response to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Western allies have imposed sanctions on Russian businesses, oligarchs and politicians with links to Putin’s regime.
A range of sanctions have been put in place, including import bans and asset freezes.
Western nations have also taken steps toward phasing out Russian energy.
The UK has pledged to phase out imports of Russian oil by the end of the year, giving the country time to adjust supply chains.
Meanwhile, the EU has signed a deal with the US allowing it to supply the country with extra gas in order to curb the bloc’s reliance on Russia.
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