Russian President Vladimir V. Putin meeting with Senegalese President Macky Sal in Sochi, Russia.Photo credit: Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik

Senegalese President Macky Sall has urged Russian leader Vladimir Putin 

to release stocks of grain that are stuck in Ukraine to help ease global food crisis. 

Sall, the current chairman of the African Union, met with the Russian leader on Friday in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. 

He said said Russia’s blockade of grain was threatening food insecurity on the African continent. 

“Our countries, although they are far from the theatre,” Sall said, “are victims of this crisis on an economic level.”

Sall added that Western sanctions on Russia had compounded Africa’s lack of access to grain, reports the New York Times. 

Earlier this week, Sall addressed a European Union summit reminding the European leaders that “Yes, there is the war, the crisis, but there are also the sanctions. We need to work on both fronts.”

Mr. Putin told Sall that he was ready to release the grain stuck in Ukraine on the condition that some Western sanctions against Russia be lifted. 

He claimed that that mines laid by Ukraine were preventing wheat shipments.

African countries are critically dependent on grain from Russia and Ukraine, which account for more than 40 percent of the continent’s wheat imports. 

Countries like Rwanda, Tanzania and Senegal rely on both countries for more than 60 percent of such imports. 

In Egypt, that figure rises to 80 percent, while Benin and Somalia rely entirely on Russia and Ukraine for wheat supply.

Meanwhile Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, said Putin planned to give Sall a detailed explanation of Russia’s view and explain “what is necessary to do to allow the grain flow to resume.”

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