BRICS countries want to break the dominance of the West. They made this clear at the start of their 15th meeting in Johannesburg on Tuesday. The alliance of important emerging countries Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa accounts for about a quarter of global GDP. Now it is striving for a new world order.
President Vladimir Putin was connected only through video. He did not turn up because of an international arrest warrant. He was greeted with thunderous applause during his speech, compared to other speakers after him, as economist Thomas Bachheimer reported on his blog bachhaimer.com.
With South African President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa describing the BRICS countries as “a powerful force for global development”, Putin’s speech initially revolved around industrial transformation and technology transfer as the main challenges. Unsurprisingly, the Russian president expressed confidence: “We are stronger than the G7 in terms of purchasing power.”
Furthermore, Russia is a leader in combating world hunger through food production, which they also touched upon with the recently suspended grain agreement with Ukraine, an issue that is also raging in Europe. Blaming the West once again for canceling the grain deal, Putin claimed “the deal should not be used politically, as is the case now.”
The Kremlin chief complained that none of the conditions set out in the contract to facilitate the export of Russian grain and fertilizer had been met. “Commitments to Russia in this regard were ignored,” he claimed. Putin said Moscow would only lift the blockade of Ukrainian ports and return to the deal after all Russian demands are met.
In the summer of 2022, Russia ended its naval blockade of Ukrainian ports with the mediation of the United Nations and Turkey. The grain deal, which was initially concluded for only four months, was extended several times. As a result, more than 1000 ships with about 33 million grains left Ukrainian ports. However, on 17 July Putin rejected a further extension.
Putin’s accusations apparently relate to, among other things, the explosion of the Togliatti-Odessa ammonia pipeline, reports eXXpress. Against this backdrop, the termination of the agreement was not really surprising.
Operation of ammonia pipeline is necessary for Moscow. It operates from Russia to various Black Sea ports in Ukraine. During negotiations on the grain agreement, Kiev and Moscow agreed to enable safe passage of ammonia through the pipeline. But Kiev has never reopened the pipeline, despite the United Nations urging Ukraine to do so in September 2022. Ammonia fertilizers are important to global agricultural production.
Moscow designated the reopening of the pipeline as a condition for renewing the Black Sea Grain Initiative. A few days later all hopes were dashed when a section of the pipeline blew up on Ukrainian territory. After this, once again both the sides are accusing each other. Russia talks of Ukrainian saboteurs, with the governor of the Ukrainian Kharkiv Oblast claiming the plant was destroyed by Russian shelling.