Russian President Vladimir Putin made bold statements on the opening day of the BRICS summit in South Africa. He used a prerecorded speech to criticize what he termed “illegitimate sanctions” imposed on Russia by Western nations. And issued a threat to permanently halt Ukraine’s grain exports.
The BRICS summit brings together emerging economies including Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Notably absent from the event was Putin himself, who chose to participate remotely. His 17-minute address, pre-recorded, focused primarily on the conflict in Ukraine and Russia’s relations with Western countries. South African officials expressed a desire to steer the discussions away from contentious geopolitics.
Seated at a desk with a Russian flag behind him and a white notebook in front. Putin laid out his conditions for resuming a wartime deal facilitating Ukrainian grain shipments—a deal of critical importance to global food supplies. He insisted that this would only happen when restrictions on Russian food and agricultural products are eased.
Vladimir Putin criticized Western efforts to financially isolate and penalize Russia for its military involvement in Ukraine. Branding them as “illegitimate sanctions” and accusing Western powers of freezing the assets of sovereign states, a practice he claimed violated the norms and rules of free trade.
Moscow’s July Move and Grain Exports
In a significant move in July, Moscow withdrew from the Black Sea Grain Initiative and intensified drone and missile attacks on Odesa, a port city in southern Ukraine covered by the agreement. This initiative played a crucial role in stabilizing global food prices, including wheat and vegetable oil. Despite alleged hindrances to Russian grain and fertilizer exports. Moreover, Putin asserted that Russia could replace Ukraine in grain exports. Both commercially and in humanitarian aid to countries in need.
It’s worth noting that the United States and other Western countries have not directly targeted Russian agricultural exports. However, restrictions on Russia’s access to international financial payment systems under certain sanctions have posed challenges to Russia’s ability to market food, fertilizer, and other products.
Putin emphasized Russia’s stance regarding the suspended deal, stating, “With these facts in mind, since July 18, we have refused to extend the so-called deal. We will be ready to get back to it, but only if all the obligations to the Russian side are truly fulfilled.”
The statements made by Putin at this BRICS summit serve as a stark reminder of the ongoing tensions between Russia and Western nations. In addition, Ukraine remains a flashpoint in this geopolitical standoff. The global community watches closely as these dynamics continue to evolve.