Putin’s Address to Reporters Following the Second Russia-Africa Summit

Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed reporters on Saturday following the Russia-Africa summit in St. Petersburg on Friday. He answered questions on issues related to the grain deal, Russia’s relationship with African countries, and Ukraine.

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Africa’s Peace Plan on Ukraine and Grain Deal

Africa’s peace plan on Ukraine and the grain deal are not connected in any way, President Vladimir Putin said.

“No, one thing has nothing to do with the other,” Putin said when asked by reporters whether Africa’s peace initiative on Ukraine and the grain deal were interrelated.

On July 18, the Black SeaGrainInitiative, commonly known as thegraindeal, which provided for a humanitarian corridor to allow exports of Ukrainiangrainover the past year expired, as Russia did not renew its participation in thedeal. Moscow emphasized that thedeal’s component on facilitating Russiangrainand fertilizer exports had not been fulfilled.

Prices on the world market after Russia’s exit from the grain deal have grown, so Russia will receive more income and is ready to share part of it with the poorest countries, Putin said on Saturday.

“When we announced that we were withdrawing from the grain deal, prices on the world market grew a little. This means that our companies will receive more, which means we will receive more taxes. And if we receive more taxes, we will share some of our income with the poorest countries and deliver certain amounts of food for free,” Putin told journalists.

Some provisions of the African peace initiative on Ukraine are being implemented, such as the exchange of prisoners and humanitarian issues, Putin emphasized.

“The initiative itself, like any other peaceful initiative, is good because it seeks a peaceful solution to the conflict. There are things that, after our meeting in Saint Petersburg a month and a half ago, these provisions, so to speak, and the points of this peace initiative are being implemented.”

“True, they are being implemented either way, but, nevertheless, there are ten points in total in these initiatives, one of the points is the exchange of prisoners, exchange of detainees, the solution of a family, humanitarian issues related to children and so on,” Putin told journalists.

Africa’s Enormous Potential

African nations stand ready to accept Russian investments and give Russian business community a chance to develop on the continent, Putin said.

“[African countries] are ready to accept our investments and let our businesses develop there: to build, to root in, to make money in this market,” Putin told a press conference, speaking about Africa’s interest in Russia’s agro-industrial technologies.

He then added that African countries have enormous potential that is growing exponentially.

“Our attempts to work in the African direction today are made in the interests, first of all, of Russia. And there are a lot of components here. Let’s start with the economy. Such a huge potential, it is growing, and at a very fast pace, exponentially, there are already one and a half billion people in Africa,” the Russian president told journalists.

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The African continent is also rich in mineral resources, he added.

“Some Asian countries are in fact transferring their reserves to Africa’s mineral resources.”

The Russian president then told reporters that the world is changing rapidly, and Russia should use the Soviet legacy in relations with Africa, but also work with the continent in a new way.

“The world is changing rapidly… Take Indonesia — such massive potential… I’m not talking about India, China. Everybody knows about that. Brazil. And Africa. There are countries there that are simply leaders,” Putin told journalists.

The Russian president noted that Africa has much potential but is not alone in this list.

“So, of course, we must leverage everything that has been built up since Soviet times — these very good, trusting relations. And to work in a new way, of course,” Putin noted.

African nations need stable domestic politics to be able to develop their economies, Putin added.

“Joint work in the field of security is very much needed. Africa is still suffering from terrorism, and this is a problem in many regions, in many countries. And in order for the economy to develop well, as we all know very well, we need stability in domestic politics. Stability is impossible if security is not ensured. This is why they sincerely want to continue working with us in this area, including military and technical cooperation.”

He added that African nations are not afraid of “any external pressure.”

“They’re working. And they are buying weapons. And dozens and hundreds of servicemen from African countries are trained in our universities of the Ministry of Defense. They are studying with us,” Putin said.

Russia Ready to Give Away Fertilizers for Free

The president then added that Russia is ready to give away for free to those in need the fertilizers that are being held in ports of Baltic countries, but they are not being released.

During his meeting with the leaders of African countries in St. Petersburg on Friday, the president said that Russia was going to supply grain to African countries on a commercial basis as well as free of charge.

“We discussed this with our African friends yesterday. And I drew attention to the ten thousand tonnes of our fertilizers that are stored in the Baltic ports. It’s very strange, right? Our fertilizers are there. Our companies said: ‘We will give it away for free.’ OK then. Let’s say someone doesn’t want us to earn money on this, and let the money go to war, as they say. But we are giving it away for free,” Putin told reporters.

The president emphasized that Russia will not earn anything on these fertilizers, “and we will not let anything go to war if the needy African countries receive this fertilizer free of charge,” but “they are not letting go [of the Russian fertilizer.]”

On July 18, the Black Sea Grain Initiative, commonly known as the grain deal, which provided for a humanitarian corridor to allow exports of Ukrainian grain over the past year expired, as Russia did not renew its participation in the deal. Moscow emphasized that the deal’s component on facilitating Russian grain and fertilizer exports had not been fulfilled.

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On Situation in Ukraine and Its Possible Separation

Ukraine has suffered heavy losses both in manpower and in military equipment, but there are changes, as they are preserving equipment, Putin noted on Saturday.

“They suffered heavy losses both in manpower and in equipment, but now there are some changes. What are they? They bring people to the front line in armored vehicles, throw them out, and the equipment immediately disappears. Apparently, they are preserving the equipment, they are afraid to lose it, and advance on foot,” Putin told journalists.

The introduction of Polish military units into Ukraine could become the beginning of the path towards the rejection of western territories of Ukraine in favor of Poland, Putin added.

“There [in Ukraine] ideas are already being thrown in to introduce certain Polish military units in a broader sense – to ensure security, because everyone is raked out as part of mobilization measures, but you have to somehow maintain order and discipline. But if this [entry of Polish units] happens, then it will be the beginning of this path towards the rejection of western territories of Ukraine in favor of Poland,” Putin said.

The start of Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine was a trigger for economic problems of the West, while the root cause lies in their own past mistakes, Putin said.

Putin noted that the United States and countries in Western Europe resorted to relief spending and money issuance to address the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, which led to runaway inflation.

“It is true that the start of the special military operation was a push for these problems to grow, but the root of the problems is not here. The root of the problems lies in their economic mistakes, mistakes of economic policy, which for decades they have repeated time and again, based, as a rule, on some opportunistic domestic political considerations.”

“There are no major changes [in Ukraine]. I think this is due to the fact that the enemy withdrew his assault units to the combat capability recovery position,” Putin told journalists at the press conference.

Prices on the world market after Russia’s exit from the grain deal have grown, so Russia will receive more income and is ready to share part of it with the poorest countries, Putin said on Saturday.

Russia Does Not Want Military Clash With NATO, But Ready for Any Scenario

Russia does not want a direct clash with NATO, but is ready for any scenario, Putin said on Saturday.

“We are always ready for any scenario. But nobody wants this. We once established a special mechanism to prevent these conflicts at the initiative of the American side. Our heads of relevant departments directly communicate with each other and have the opportunity to consult on any crisis situation,” Putin told journalists.

Putin added that the use of neo-nazism against Russia will fire back at the countries that employ such methods.

“Yes, now that Ukraine is being used as a tool to fight against Russia, this suits our potential adversaries. They are ready to use any means, and at one point they used al-Qaeda [terrorist group, banned in Russia] and other terrorist organizations in the fight against us in the Caucasus,” Putin told reporters.

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The Russian leader said that some countries view the situation from the perspective that, for example, al-Qaeda in Europe is “bad,” while the same terrorists in the fight against Russia are “good.”

“It’s the same with Nazism, Nazism is generally bad, but if neo-Nazis can be used in the fight against Russia, that suits them. Both are wrong: those who are trying to use neo-Nazis against us, because in the end it will fire back at them, just as terrorism returned to them; and those who are trying to build their identity on the basis of Nazi ideas, because this will lead them to a dead end,” Putin told reporters in St. Petersburg.

On Gas Hub in Turkiye

Russia is not going to store huge quantities of gas in Turkiye as this is the place for an electronic platform for trading it, Putin said.

“Yes, it [the gas hub project] remains on the agenda, but I want it to be clear, it is not oil and not an oil storage, it is gas. We and our Turkish friends know it, we are talking about the creation of an electronic trading platform… We are not going to store gas in huge tanks there, it is just a convenient place to set up such an electronic trading platform,” Putin said on Saturday.

Russia will provide all possible assistance to foreign companies that want to work in the country, Putin said on Saturday.

“We welcome and will give our full cooperation to those who want to work with us,” Putin told journalists, noting that Russia is friendly towards foreign companies that do not want to leave the country’s market.

In addition, the Russian president said that there are currently no new discussions on the transfer of foreign companies under management of the Federal Agency for State Property Management (Rosimushchestvo).

Putin has held a meeting with the Mayor of St. Petersburg Alexander Beglov, thanking him on behalf of the African guests of the Russia-Africa summit, saying that everyone praised the excellent condition and beauty of the city.

“Thank you very much for this [organizing the summit]. And I say this not only on behalf of myself, but also on behalf of our guests. All-as-one noted the excellent state of the city, which emphasize… the beauty of St. Petersburg,” Putin said.

The second Russia-Africa Summit and Economic and Humanitarian Forum took place in the Russian city of St. Petersburg from July 27-28. Sputnik is an official media partner of the forum.

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