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Russian President: One-Quarter Of Grain Crop Destroyed By Drought

President Dmitry Medvedev attends a conference on the stabilization of the Russian grain market in the city of Taganrog.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev today said one-quarter of Russia's grain crop has been destroyed by drought compounded by a record-breaking heat wave.

Medvedev, speaking to a group of farmers and grain traders in the country's south today, said he knows "many farmers are on the verge of bankruptcy," but everyone must work together to prevent the shortage from affecting food prices.

"We must prevent a rise in grain and fodder prices," Medvedev said. "We need to understand that this can eventually affect food prices -- prices for flour, bread, meat, milk."

The Russian president also ended a state of emergency that had been called in three Russian regions consumed by wildfires.

Russia earlier announced that it was banning grain exports from August 15 until December 31, though Medvedev today said it could be lifted earlier.

Russia last year was the world's third-largest grain exporter.