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Russian President Vladimir Putin Thursday said Russia wants to remain the world's largest wheat exporter. He rejected the claims that Moscow was blocking Ukrainian agricultural exports.

Putin said some action needs to be taken to prevent the situation in the global food market from becoming "tragic". He asserted that Western sanctions on Russia are to blame for problems on the global food market and rising prices.

Meanwhile, Dmitry Medvedev, deputy secretary of Russia's Security Council warned that Moscow could see the Western sanctions as a cause for war, news agency AP reported.

The Russian Security Council deputy secretary denounced the Western restrictions as “boorish and cynical" and said that they border on “economic war."

“Under certain circumstances, such hostile measures could be perceived as an act of international aggression, or even as a casus belli," the Latin term for cause of war, Medvedev said.

Dmitry Medvede emphasized that the Western sanctions “have a clear goal — to inflict as much pain as possible to as many citizens of our country as they can ... to ordinary citizens, not the country's leadership or business elites."

“The main aim is to punish the Russian people by trying to reduce economic activity and to provoke hyperinflation," he added.

Separately, NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg said Greece is willing to provide ships to help export grain from Ukraine's Black Sea ports that have been blocked by Russia.

"Greece announced that they are ready to make available ships to get the grain out of Ukraine," news agency Reuters reported quoting Stoltenberg.


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