Ukraine sending grain to EU, not developing nations: Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin accuses the West of deceiving poor countries regarding the grain deal and touches on a myriad of topics.
Most of the grain leaving Ukraine's ports after the grain shipments deadlock that exacerbated the international food crisis is heading to the European Union instead of developing countries, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday as the world's poorest nations bear the brunt of the food crisis most.
"Almost all the grain exported from Ukraine is sent not to the poorest developing countries, but to EU countries," he told the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok. "With this approach, the scale of food problems in the world will only grow."
On July 22, Russia, Ukraine, and Turkey signed the grain deal to provide a humanitarian maritime corridor for ships to carry food and fertilizers from the Black Sea ports. Three key Ukrainian ports — Odessa, Chornomorsk, and Yuzhne — were unblocked to resume exports.
Since the agreement has been put into effect, Ukraine has shipped one million tonnes of foodstuff from its three Black Sea ports under the UN-backed grain deal, according to Ukrainian media outlets.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said after a drone attack struck Russia's Black Sea Fleet's headquarters 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.
Isolating Russia 'impossible'
Putin went on to address the West by telling them that their sanctions aimed at pushing Russia to the side and isolating the country were futile, stressing that it was "impossible" for anyone to isolate Russia.
"No matter how much someone would like to isolate Russia, it is impossible to do this," he said. The "sanctions fever in the West [is] threatening the whole world."
His assertions are proving to be true as Europe and the US suffer from energy shortages while the latter is also suffering from shortages of certain foods, though in a manageable manner compared to the aforementioned developing countries.
Russia will not supply anything abroad if it contradicts interests
However, Russia will not supply anything overseas if it is against its own interests, Putin said in response to the West's request to cap pricing for Russian energy supplies.
"There are contractual obligations, supply contracts, and if any decisions of a political nature are made that contradict the contracts, we simply will not fulfill them. In general, we will not supply anything if it contradicts our interests and, in this case, economic ones. We will not supply gas, nor oil, nor coal, nor heating oil," Putin said at the plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF).
Tectonic changes taking place around world
Tectonic changes took place in the system of international relations, and the Asia-Pacific region has gained increased prominence in terms of its role in the international arena, Putin stressed as the balance of power shifts away from the United States and its alliance.
"Recently, irreversible tectonic changes have taken place in the entire system of international relations. The role of dynamic, promising states and regions of the world has significantly increased," Putin stressed.
"Above all, of course, the Asia-Pacific region. Its countries have become new centers of economic and technological growth, points of attraction for personnel, capital, production," the Russian leader added.
Asian economies are growing faster than Western ones, and this trend will persist in the future, he added.
West's short-sighted actions fuel global inflation, trend to continue
According to Putin, it is the Western countries' short-sighted policies that are promoting global inflation, with inflation in the US now topping 8%.
"Global inflation has also been fueled by the short-sighted actions of the West. It has already beaten long-term records in developed countries. In the United States it was at 8.5% at the end of July," he added.
At the same time, analysts predict that inflation in Russia will reach goal levels by the second quarter of next year, according to the Russian President.
Peak of most difficult situation for Russian economy left behind
The worst of the Russian economy's difficulties have passed, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and both the government and the presidential administration believe so.
"We believe both in the government and the presidential administration, our experts believe that we have passed the peak of the most difficult situation, the situation is normalizing. This is also evidenced by macroeconomic indicators," Putin said at the plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF).
The Russian economy will contract by 2% or slightly more this year, according to Putin.
"They predicted that there would be a very large recession in the economy, GDP. This will not happen — there will be a recession, but it will be insignificant — somewhere around 2—2.5%," Putin said.
He stated that through implementing effective measures, the administration was able to avoid a bad development situation.
European market lost its premium status
The European market has traditionally been regarded as a premium market, but it has ceased to be one since the Ukraine conflict, and even the United States has shifted supplies in a different direction, according to the president.
"Of course, the European market has always been considered a premium one, but the situation in the world is changing very quickly, and quite recently, at the beginning of the crisis around Ukraine, it ceased to be premium, even the American partners of the Europeans redirected their tankers with liquefied natural gas to Asian countries, because it was more profitable to sell there," Putin said at the plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF).
He added that the Americans were generally very pragmatic people.
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There are other states than Europe
In this context, he stated that if Europe does not require Russia's advantages in terms of cheap gas, other nations are willing to collaborate.
"Receiving natural gas from Russia, the economies of the leading European countries had obvious competitive advantages of a global nature for decades. If they think that they do not need such advantages, well, it does not bother us in any way because the need for energy resources in the world is very large," Putin said at the plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF).
International law always breached, but not by Russia
International law is constantly violated — the war in Iraq, activities in Yugoslavia, and the bombing of Belgrade was not accompanied by UN sanctions — and today Moscow is blamed, according to Putin, who denies that Russia violates any international law principles.
"International law is always violated. Now many people say that Russia is violating international law. I think that this is absolutely untrue. Who started the war in Iraq without any UN sanctions? Who destroyed Yugoslavia under plausible pretexts, and who did it? Who unleashed a war in the center of Europe by bombing Belgrade? No one remembered the principles of international law then," Putin said during a plenary session of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF).