MOSCOW, May 26. /TASS/. Moscow finds the West’s rhetoric on Russia’s Ukrainian grain blockade unacceptable, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday.
"We flatly reject this rhetoric, and we ourselves accuse the West of a number of illicit steps it has taken to cause the blockade," Peskov said.
"They should retract the illegal decisions they have made resulting in blocked freight, grain exports, etc.," the presidential spokesman said in response to a question about whether Western countries should lift their anti-Russian sanctions to unlock grain deliveries.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen told Reuters earlier this week that the EU should seek dialogue with Russia on unlocking the export of grain and other foods trapped in Ukraine to avoid a global food crisis. She also alleged that Russia was hoarding its food exports as a form of blackmail.
Military actions in Ukraine and large-scale sanctions against Russia imposed by the US and the EU have disrupted grain deliveries, increasing the risk of a food crisis in a number of countries. Wheat and corn prices have risen by 30% since the start of the year. Earlier, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said in a BBC interview that the issue of clearing mines in the Black Sea in order to create safe passages for vessels was currently being discussed with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres within the framework of his initiative to get Ukrainian grain and Russian fertilizers back to global markets.
On Wednesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko said Russia had been interacting with the UN on the issue of unlocking wheat exports from Ukrainian ports and that relevant consultations were underway.