Russia will replace exports of Ukrainian grain to Africa, President Vladimir Putin said on Monday, after Moscow exited a deal allowing their safe shipment.

“Russia will continue its energetic efforts to provide supplies of grain, food products, fertilizers and other goods to Africa,” Putin said in a statement published on the Kremlin’s website.

“I want to give assurances that our country is capable of replacing the Ukrainian grain both on a commercial and free-of-charge basis.”

Moscow’s military operation blocked Ukraine’s Black Sea ports with warships until a deal brokered by the UN and Turkey and signed in July 2022 allowed for the passage of critical grain shipments.

Earlier this month Russia exited the deal after complaining that a related agreement on allowing the export of Russian food and fertilizers had not been honored.

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Moscow later said it would consider cargo ships traveling to Ukraine through the Black Sea potential military targets.

The African Union has expressed “regret” over Moscow’s decision to end the grain export deal.

Later this week Russia will host the second Russia-Africa Summit and Russia-Africa Economic and Humanitarian Forum, according to the Kremlin.

Humanitarian groups say Africa is heavily reliant on grain from Russia and Ukraine.

The grain deal had enabled the export of more than 32 million tons of Ukrainian grain over the last year.

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