Russia offers to lift port blockade in exchange for sanctions relief; Putin will not dictate peace terms in Ukraine _ German Chancellor

Russia’s defence ministry says it will lift its blockade of Ukrainian ports in exchange for sanctions relief.

Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko said on Thursday that Moscow will grant passage to foreign vessels if the international community reconsiders its embargoes.

More than 20 million tonnes of grain have been grounded at Ukraine’s Black Sea ports since Russia invaded the country more than 3 months ago. Experts say the fall in wheat and grain exports has contributed to the growing global food crisis.

Speaking at a news conference in Sarajevo, UK Foreign Secretary Lizz Truss accused Moscow of “holding the world to ransom” and of hurting the world’s poorest people.

“It is completely appalling that (Vladimir) Putin is trying to hold the world to ransom and he’s essentially weaponising hunger and lack of food amongst the poorest people around the world,” she said.

Meanwhile, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on the final day of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting reiterated western allies’ support for Ukraine and said that Putin cannot be allowed to dictate peace in the war he instigated.

“Putin must not win this war,” Scholz said in a keynote speech. “And I am convinced that he will not win it. He has already failed to achieve all his strategic goals.”

His address caps four days of discussions among global business and political leaders, which were dominated by the war in Ukraine, a global food crisis, climate change, and other hot-button issues. The gathering in the Swiss Alps had been suspended twice over the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several Ukrainian officials had flown into Davos to drum up support for their country’s campaign to oust Russian forces, including foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba and the mayors of Kyiv and Bucha.

Kyiv’s mayor Vitali Klitschko told Euronews that the time for negotiating with the Russian president was long gone.

“(There is) no sense to talk to (Putin),” Klitschko said. “He is an unhealthy person because it was an unhealthy decision to make a war in the modern world, to have the crazy idea of rebuilding the Soviet Empire.”

In an earlier address, Klitschko appealed to leaders for help, in order to rebuild the Ukrainian capital. He said Kyiv needs 80 million euros to repair some 300 buildings that were destroyed during the war.


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