Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday warned that the price of fertilisers across the globe may spike further if the West continued to create "difficulties" for his country, one of the world's largest suppliers of mineral fertilisers.
Addressing members of the Russian government, Putin also called on the West not to blame Russia for rising global energy prices since he ordered a 'special military operation' against Ukraine on February 24. Reacting sharply to the invasion of Ukraine, the US and its allies have imposed crippling economic sanctions on Russia. The US has also banned the import of oil, liquefied natural gas, and coal from Russia which the White House said will further deprive President Putin of the economic resources he uses to "continue his needless war of choice".
In his remarks, reported by Russia's state-run TASS news agency, Putin predicted a rise in prices for fertilisers in the world if other countries continue to create difficulties for Russia. "Russia and Belarus are one of the largest suppliers of mineral fertilisers to world markets. If they continue to create any problems with financing this work, insurance, logistics, delivery of our goods, then the prices, which are already are already exorbitant, will grow even more," he said. Russia produces 50 million tonnes of fertilisers annually accounting for nearly 13 per cent of the world's total output.
Russia is the world's biggest exporter of synthetic fertiliser, supplying more than a fifth of urea, a key fertiliser used in the UK. It has put restrictions on exports, and supplies are also being dented by ships avoiding Russian ports while insurers will not cover the cargo amid fears it will be hit by a trade embargo, The Guardian newspaper of the UK reported on Tuesday. Putin also said that he believes that the West is trying to blame Russia for the surge in energy prices in the world. "The prices there (for energy carriers in the EU countries) are growing, but not through our fault.
This is the result of their own miscalculations. They should not blame us for this," Putin was quoted as saying by TASS news agency. He also said that Russia was fulfilling all its obligations to supply energy resources to Europe and other regions of the world. "As for those countries that are taking unfriendly steps towards our country and economy, we are well aware [that] they are calling on their citizens to tighten their belts, dress warmer and, in general, point to the sanctions that they impose against us as the reason for the deterioration of their situation," the Russian president said. "It all looks very strange, especially since we are fulfilling all our energy supply obligations," Putin stressed. On Thursday, prices rebounded by more than USD 5 per barrel in London and USD 4 in New York. Benchmark U.S. crude is up more than 50 per cent this year, the Associated Press reported.
Continued market volatility is likely in the days ahead as the conflict rages in Ukraine, the report said. President Putin also said the Russian economy will adapt to the new situation, which would lead to higher independence and sovereignty of the country. "The economy will, of course, adapt to the new situation. We will continue with import replacement on all directions, and, eventually, this will increase our independence, sovereignty and self-reliability," he said.
He noted that many countries "have already adapted to living with their backs bent and obsequiously accepting all decisions of their sovereign." "Russia cannot exist in such sorry and humiliated state. All this must have happened sooner or later. It happened now, and I am certain that, thanks to the members of our government, thanks to our leading companies, we will overcome all these hardships," Putin said, expressing confident that the country will achieve of all economic goals, including bolstering national sovereignty.