Putin promises grains, debt write-off as Russia seeks Africa allies

Russian President Vladimir Putin says his country and the African leaders attending a summit in St Petersburg have agreed to promote a multipolar world order and fight “neocolonialism” as he offered debt write-offs and grain to woo allies.

“Russia’s attention to Africa is steadily growing,” Putin said on Friday at the end of the two-day summit. The meeting was seen as a test of Moscow’s support in Africa, where Russia retains backing despite international isolation sparked by its war in Ukraine.

On Thursday, the Russian leader promised free grain to six African nations and assured them that Moscow was trying to avert a global food crisis nearly a week after withdrawing from an agreement that allowed Ukraine, one of the world’s largest grain producers, to export its farm products across the Black Sea.

The Russian leader also mentioned the “joint determination to counter neocolonialism, the practice of applying illegitimate sanctions and attempts to undermine traditional moral values”.

Representatives of 49 countries, including 17 heads of state, attended the summit in the Russian city.

Participants signed a joint declaration that called for “the establishment of a more just, balanced and stable multipolar world order, firmly opposing all types of international confrontation in the African continent”.

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