Guterres urges removing obstacles to export of Russian fertilizer
Putin, once again, accuses the EU of blocking Russian fertilizer from reaching the poorest countries.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Tuesday called on world leaders to continue to work on removing obstacles to the export of fertilizers and their ingredients from Russia.
"It is essential to continue removing all remaining obstacles to the export of Russian fertilizers and their ingredients, including ammonia," Guterres underlined in his remarks at the opening of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) High-Level week.
He noted that although such exports do still face obstacles, these Russian products are not subject to any sanctions, praising the international community for the progress achieved in eliminating the indirect effects of sanctions on these exports.
Guterres also expressed concerns over the impact of high gas prices on the production of nitrogen fertilizers, warning that this could have negative effects on the global food supply.
"This must also be addressed seriously. Without action now, the global fertilizer shortage will quickly morph into a global food shortage," he stressed.
On August 20, Guterres underlined that Russian fertilizers and agricultural products must be able to reach world markets "unimpeded" or a global food crisis could strike as early as next year.
"Without fertilizer in 2022, there may not be enough food in 2023. Getting more food and fertilizer out of Ukraine and Russia is crucial to further calm commodity markets and lower prices for consumers," he warned.
Putin accuses EU of blocking Russian fertilizer
In a similar context, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday accused the European Union of blocking 300,000 tonnes of Russian fertilizer from reaching the world's poorest countries.
"The height of cynicism is that even our offer... to transfer for free 300,000 tonnes of Russian fertilizer blocked in European ports because of sanctions to countries that need it is still without an answer," Putin pointed out in televised remarks.
"It's clear - they do not want to let our companies make money," he said, "but we would like to donate (fertilizer) to countries that need it," the Russian President affirmed.
Russia ready to donate fertilizers to developing countries: Putin
On September 9, Putin announced that Russia is ready to export potash fertilizers to developing countries free of charge.
"Our producers, we are primarily talking about potash fertilizers, are actually willing to donate it to developing countries that are in dire need of these fertilizers. I ask the Russian foreign ministry to work on this issue as well," he said at a meeting of the Russian Security Council.
The Russian President pointed out that a large amount of Russian fertilizers has accumulated in some ports of European countries due to sanctions.
Russia, Ukraine, and Turkey signed an UN-brokered initiative
It is noteworthy that on July 22, Russia, Ukraine, and Turkey signed an UN-brokered initiative to provide a humanitarian maritime corridor for ships with food and fertilizer exports from Black Sea ports.
Three key Ukrainian ports — Odessa, Chornomorsk, and Yuzhne — were unblocked to resume exports. The Istanbul-based Joint Coordination Center (JCC) was set up to monitor the implementation of the initiative, including ensuring that cargo ships do not carry unauthorized goods or personnel.
The UN-brokered initiative consists of two package documents. The first one, a memorandum, stipulates the obligation of the UN to remove various restrictions on the export of Russian agricultural products and fertilizers to global markets.
The second defines the algorithm for the export of Ukrainian agricultural products from the Black Sea ports controlled by Ukraine. Moscow has pointed out that the first memorandum of the grain initiative is not working yet.