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Putin Expects 'Record' 150-Million-Ton Grain Harvest in 2022

Vladimir Putin at a meeting to discuss the progress of agriculture. kremlin.ru

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday his country expected a record-high grain harvest in 2022 as Moscow blames Western sanctions over Ukraine for preventing its exports, especially to poor countries. 

"The preliminary estimate (for 2022) already stands at 150 million tons, including around 100 million tons of wheat. This will be a record in the history of Russia," Putin said in televised meeting on agriculture. 

According to Putin, "138.7 million tons of grain have already been harvested."

Russia has for several weeks accused Western countries of hindering its exports of agricultural products, insisting the situation creates a risk for global food security. 

"The delivery of our grain and our fertilizer abroad unfortunately remains... difficult," Putin said. 

"Sanctions against Russia risk leading to a further deterioration of the situation, to a global food crisis," he added.

Putin has repeatedly criticized an agreement reached in July in Istanbul, which lifted a blockade on grain exports from Ukraine.

One of the world's largest grain exporters, Ukraine was forced to halt almost all deliveries after Russia launched its military operation.

Putin insists the grain is mainly going to European countries, rather than poorer nations. 

"Grain from Ukraine continues to bypass the poorest countries," Putin said. 

"As of September 23, out of 203 ships that left the ports of Ukraine, only four went to the poorest countries under the United Nations program." 

Ukraine and European countries have refuted these accusations.

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