Kremlin Spokesman, Dmitry Peskov has stressed that it is not possible for Russia to return to the Black Sea grain deal at the moment because Russian interests were “not being implemented.”
According to Peskov, President Vladimir Putin had explained that the deal could be revived if the Russia-focused part of the agreement was honoured.
Meanwhile, Russian Security Council Secretary, Nikolai Patrushev stated that sanctions against Moscow threatened “catastrophic consequences” for the global food market.
Patrushev iterated that issues related to food security could not be resolved unless the West’s “illegitimate obstacles” to Russian businesses were removed.
Peskov added that it would be important for Russia to discuss grain supplies at a Russia-Africa summit later this week.
Putin is slated to hold intensive one-on-one talks with individual African leaders on trade, security, arms deals, and grain supplies on Thursday, July 27, 2023 and Friday, July 28, 2023.
The event follows Moscow’s first Russia-Africa summit in 2019.
However, the Kremlin Spokesman accused the West, specifically the United States, of trying to sabotage the Russia-Africa summit later this week by pressuring African countries not to take part.
“Virtually all African states have been subjected to unprecedented pressure from the U.S, and French embassies on the ground have not been sleeping either, along with other Western missions who are also trying to do their bit to prevent this summit from taking place.
“In essence, they do not accept the sovereign right of African states to independently determine their partners for co-operation and mutual interaction in various fields.”Dmitry Peskov
In other developments, EU Agriculture Commissioner, Janusz Wojciechowski voiced on Tuesday that the EU is ready to export almost all of Ukraine’s agriculture goods via “solidarity lanes.”
Solidarity lanes are rail and road transport connections through EU member states that border Ukraine.
“It is not the first time Russia uses food as a weapon … the situation is similar to the beginning of the war,” Wojciechowski told reporters.
“We are ready to export almost everything. This is about four million tonnes per month of oilseeds and grains and we achieved this volume in November last year,” he added.
Russia Extends Age Limit For Mandatory Military Draft
Also on Tuesday, the lower house of Russia’s parliament approved a bill which increases the upper age limit for the compulsory military draft from 27 to 30.
All Russian men aged 18 to 27 are currently obliged to serve in the military for one year, although many avoid the draft by using deferments granted to students, people with chronic illnesses and others.
The bill seems to be part of the Kremlin’s efforts to expand the military during the fighting in Ukraine.
The initial version of the bill aimed at raising the lower age for the draft from 18 to 21 and introducing the changes over several years, but lawmakers abruptly changed course, endorsing the Defense Ministry’s proposal to set the draft age at 18-30 starting next year.
The sudden shift drew criticism from some senior members of the upper house, but its Speaker said that it will support the new version.
The Russian authorities say the military doesn’t use draftees in the fighting in Ukraine, relying on volunteers and reservists who were mobilized for action.
The bill, which was quickly approved by the lower house on Tuesday, still needs to be endorsed by the upper house and signed by President Vladimir Putin to become law.