LONDON (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin and Italy’s Key Minister Mario Draghi on Thursday mentioned methods to assistance simplicity the worldwide food items crisis, with the Kremlin expressing this could be done only if the West lifts sanctions.

“Vladimir Putin emphasised that the Russian Federation is completely ready to make a sizeable contribution to conquering the meals crisis via the export of grain and fertilizers, supplied that politically determined restrictions from the West are lifted,” Moscow mentioned in a statement.

Ukraine has explained the Russian position as “blackmail”, and British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss reported on Thursday that Putin was “attempting to hold the world to ransom” by weaponising the foods crisis created by his war on Ukraine.

The White Property explained there have been no talks staying held about stress-free sanctions on Russia in buy to protected grain exports.

In a information meeting held on Thursday evening, Draghi explained he took the initiative of calling the Russian chief.

“I felt it was my duty to choose (this initiative) for the reason that of the gravity of the humanitarian disaster that may perhaps have an impact on the world’s poorest,” he explained to reporters.

Draghi said Putin told him the food crisis was the fault of sanctions.

“I am intrigued in a much more described, smaller challenge, which is to try out to see if we can unblock these substantial portions of grain in Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea,” Draghi said.

He additional he will keep a connect with with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy on this problem.

Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports has prevented shipments of grain, of which both of those nations around the world are significant exporters. Russia accuses Ukraine of mining the ports.

The conflict is fuelling a world-wide foods disaster by sending price ranges for grains, cooking oils, fuel and fertilizer soaring.

Individually, Russia’s defence ministry mentioned civilian vessels may possibly now properly use the Azov Sea port of Mariupol in Ukraine, in which its forces took entire control very last 7 days soon after Ukrainian fighters surrendered at the besieged Azovstal steelworks.

It stated the threat from mines all around Mariupol port had now been removed.

The ministry explained six international dry cargo vessels in the port have been now absolutely free to leave. It said they ended up from Bulgaria, Dominica, Liberia, Panama, Turkey and Jamaica, and urged those people governments to get the entrepreneurs of the vessels to get rid of them.

(Reporting by Mark Trevelyan, Angelo Amante, Giulia Segreti, Giselda Vagnoni, Steve Holland and Kanishka Singh Enhancing by David Evans, Andrew Heavens and Daniel Wallis)