Latvia continues to block the shipment of Russian mineral fertilizers to the poorest countries, the European Union (EU) should influence Riga to resolve the situation. This was stated on Thursday, November 24, at a briefing by the official representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova.
The diplomat recalled that this week it is planned to ship 20,000 tons of fertilizer from the Netherlands to Malawi. According to her, most of the cargo has not yet been inspected, since Latvia did not allow inspectors from the UN World Food Program.
“The world should know not only its heroes, but also its anti-heroes. We call on all parties involved, primarily the EU, to make the necessary efforts to ensure the transfer of Russian fertilizers to the poorest countries, which they need no less than food,” she said.
Zakharova recalled that this was Russia’s humanitarian action to help those in need, and stressed that Latvia, as well as Estonia, Belgium and the Netherlands, have been holding Russian products in their ports for three months.
“I can imagine what the so-called developed and civilized countries, like Great Britain and the USA, would do with the same Riga if it began to impede the supply of what is vital to these states from the territory of Russia. I can imagine how in one minute these same Riga figures would be included in the sanctions lists, they would be deprived of visas, some compromising material would be thrown in relation to them, and so on, ”she added.
If the West says it cares about the poorest and neediest countries, then it should use all its influence in relation to Latvia and other states to resolve this situation, the diplomat added.
The day before, on November 23, Russian President Vladimir Putin, at a meeting with the CEO of Uralchem, chairman of the commission of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP), Dmitry Mazepin, supported the request of Uralchem to apply to the UN to unblock fertilizers in European ports. He also stated that Russia is ready to expand the work on the supply of fertilizers to international markets and cooperate with absolutely all partners in this area.
On November 16, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation Sergei Vershinin told Izvestiya that it was extremely important for Russia that one of the parts of the Istanbul agreements regarding the export of grain from Ukraine be accompanied by progress in another part of the agreement, affecting the export of Russian agricultural products and fertilizers.
Before that, on November 12, Vershinin said that up to 280 thousand tons of mineral fertilizers from Russia were under arrest in European ports. According to him, Moscow offered to donate the arrested fertilizers to the poorest countries, primarily African ones. He pointed out that so far almost nothing has been done on this issue.
At the end of October, Putin noted that Moscow was ready to transfer fertilizers stuck in EU ports for free to the poorest countries, but the West did not give them away. Putin was outraged by the decision to lift restrictions and bans on Russian fertilizers in Europe, and then issue a clarification that they were lifted only for EU countries, thus limiting supplies to countries in need.
The food deal was concluded on July 22 in Istanbul. Then Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and the UN Secretary General signed a memorandum on facilitating the supply of Russian agricultural products and fertilizers to world markets. At the same time, the Ukrainian delegation signed an agreement with Turkey and the UN on the export of grain.