Lavrov in Africa
Russian foreign minister visits four African countries
Western sanctions to blame for global food crisis
Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov on Sunday landed in Egypt on the start of his four nation African trip. Received warmly by the Arab League, he addressed the grain issue telling Africans in an editorial Friday that “Russia will continue to fulfil in good faith its obligations under international contracts with regard to exports of food, fertilisers, energy and other goods vital for Africa.” Lavrov is expected later in Ethiopia, Uganda and the Republic of Congo.
His African visit comes a day after Russian missiles struck an Ukrainian naval facility in Odessa. On Friday Russia, Turkey, the United Nations and Ukraine signed an agreement to allow Ukrainian grain leave blockaded ports while a separate agreement with the UN allows Russian agricultural products to reach world markets.
On Sunday. The Russian Ministry of Defence clarified the strike on Odessa.
“Attack launched by high-precision long-range sea-based missiles has resulted in the elimination of Ukrainian military ship and a depot of Harpoon anti-ship missiles delivered by USA to the Kiev regime in the seaport of Odessa. The list of neutralised targets also includes the production facilities of an entity specialised in repairing and modernising the fleet of Ukrainian Navy.” Lieutenant General Igor Konashenkov said in the daily RuMOD briefing.
The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Telegram. “Kalibr missiles destroyed Odessa port’s military infrastructure, sending a Ukrainian military boat to the Kiev regime’s favourite address in a precision strike.”
Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky said the strike on Odessa demonstrates that Moscow will find ways not to implement the grain deal. “This proves only one thing: no matter what Russia says and promises, it will find ways not to implement it. ” He said on a Telegram video.
Western efforts to isolate Russia on the global scene have so far failed. The Egyptian foreign minister, Sameh Shoukry, had warm words for his counterpart.
“Egyptian-Russian relations are historical, characterized by friendship and branched out into many fields politically, economically and culturally,” Mr. Shoukry declared at a news conference.
“We look forward to further close cooperation based on mutual respect and shared interest,” he said.
“We reiterated the commitment of Russian grain exporters to all of their liabilities,” he said.
“Some Western countries were seeking to postpone the issue of exporting Russian grain, the Russian Foreign Minister said.
“Those illegitimate sanctions that were imposed [against Russia] and that prevented operations with Russian grain, including insurance, including the calling of our ships at foreign ports and foreign ships at Russian ports,” Lavrov said.
“Now, after the signing of the agreements in Istanbul, the UN secretary-general “has volunteered to seek the removal of these illegitimate restrictions. Let’s hope he will succeed,” the top diplomat said.
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