MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday that Russia would provide grain to African countries for free if the Black Sea grain deal is not extended in May.

Putin told delegates at a Russia-Africa parliamentary conference that only a small amount of grain exports unblocked under the deal had reached Africa, and that the fulfilment of Russian conditions for the deal's renewal was in Africa's interest.

(Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Mark Trevelyan/Guy Faulconbridge)