SARAJEVO (Reuters) -British foreign minister Liz Truss accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of holding the world to ransom over food, responding to a question about whether she supported lifting sanctions in exchange for grain exports from Ukraine.
“It is completely appalling that Putin is trying to hold the world to ransom, and he is essentially weaponising hunger and lack of food amongst the poorest people around the world,” Truss said during a visit to Bosnia on Thursday.
“We simply cannot allow this to happen. Putin needs to remove the blockade on Ukrainian grain.”
On Wednesday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko was cited by the Interfax news agency as saying that Moscow was ready to provide a humanitarian corridor for vessels carrying food to leave Ukraine, in return for the lifting of some sanctions.
Western countries have coordinated in imposing sanctions on Russia, from its companies and media outlets to businessmen and politicians, to punish Moscow for the war in Ukrainian.
“What we cannot have is any lifting of sanctions, any appeasement, which will simply make Putin stronger in the longer term,” Truss said.
(Reporting by Muvija M in London, Editing by Kylie Maclellan and William James)