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Russia’s war in Ukraine fuels global food crisis, Moscow blames sanctions

Jun 01, 2022

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Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led to an all-out war, which is now fueling a global food crisis. However, Moscow is blaming the West and international sanctions for the world’s growing food woes.

Ukraine and Russia export approximately 30% of the world’s wheat supply, but Western nations are unable to buy the commodity thanks to Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea and a self-imposed ban on grain shipments to former Soviet nations, Reuters reported.

Still, the Kremlin claims U.S.-led sanctions are causing the food shortages. Government spokesman Dmitri Peskov claimed America and Europe “must cancel the unlawful decisions that hamper chartering ships and exporting grain,” according to the Associated Press.

Officials in Washington say allegations that the sanctions are causing the latest shortage are simply false.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken made it clear in a statement to a Food Security Ministerial in New York City in mid-May that nothing about the sanctions the Biden Administration imposed would have caused food shortages. In fact, exemptions purposefully were put into the sanctions to keep such a scenario from happening.

“When we imposed sanctions on Russia, we deliberately and carefully created exceptions for agricultural goods and fertilizer,” Blinken said.

Russia’s responses to the sanctions — both its own ban on wheat exports as well as its Black Sea blockade — are what have caused the crisis.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said during a Monday night address that the Russian blockade has prevented his country from exporting more than 20 million tons of grain, Reuters reported. He further accused Moscow of purposefully threatening famine in countries dependent on Kyiv’s grain and seeking to create another migration emergency.

Zelenskyy said Russia is “deliberately creating this problem so that the whole of Europe struggles and so that Ukraine doesn’t earn billions of dollars from its exports,” adding that Russia’s claim that sanctions are prohibiting greater food exports is a lie, according to Reuters.

International leaders are now warning that we could be heading toward a worldwide famine. According to the U.N. World Food Programme, almost 50 million people in nearly four dozen countries are on the brink of famine and could be at risk of starvation without immediate intervention.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

MAHMOUD BENNETT: THE WAR IN UKRAINE IS FUELING A GLOBAL FOOD CRISIS.

AND NOW RUSSIA IS BLAMING THE WEST AND INTERNATIONAL SANCTIONS.

THE 2 COUNTRIES SUPPLY ABOUT 30-PERCENT OF THE WORLD’S WHEAT. AND RUSSIAN OFFICIALS SAY THEY’RE READY TO MAKE CONTRIBUTIONS WHEN QUOTE POLITICALLY MOTIVATED RESTRICTIONS ARE LIFTED.

BUT U.S. OFFICIALS SAY THAT THE ASSERTION SANCTIONS ARE CAUSING THIS LATEST SHORTAGE IS JUST NOT TRUE

SECRETARY OF STATE ANTONY BLINKEN: “WHEN WE IMPOSED SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA WE DELIBERATELY AND CAREFULLY CREATED EXCEPTIONS FOR AGRICULTURAL GOODS AND FERTILIZER”

BENNETT: WHILE IT’S TRUE U.S. SANCTIONS DON’T APPLY TO FOOD, MEDICINE, OR HUMANITARIAN AID – RUSSIA BANNED THEIR OWN EXPORTS OF WHEAT TO CERTAIN COUNTRIES BACK IN MARCH

AND UKRAINIAN EXPORTS HAVE ALSO BEEN IMPACTED BY RUSSIA’S BLOCKADE IN THE BLACK SEA

UKRAINE’S PRESIDENT SAYS IT’S STOPPING THE MOVEMENT OF 22 MILLION TONNES OF GRAIN

LEADERS WARN WE COULD BE HEADING TOWARD A WORLDWIDE FAMINE

DAVID BEASLEY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR THE U.N. WORLD FOOD PROGRAMME: “FAILURE TO OPEN THOSE PORTS WILL BE A DECLARATION OF WAR ON GLOBAL FOOD SECURITY”

BENNETT: THE UN ESTIMATES 49 MILLION PEOPLE ARE ON THE BRINK OF FAMINE AND COULD SOON RISK STARVATION WITHOUT IMMEDIATE INTERVENTION.