Deputy Chairman of Russia’s Security Council Medvedev said Moscow will ensure food supplies to avoid a crisis, if the West lifts sanctions.
“Our country is ready to fulfill its obligations, but we also look forward to the support of our trading partners, including on international platforms,” said Deputy Chairman of the Russian Security Council Dmitry Medvedev. on Telegram on May 19. “There is no logic for them to impose crazy sanctions against Russia on the one hand, and ask us for food on the other.”
Medvedev’s comments came after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused the Russian military of holding “food supplies” for millions of people hostage.
“Stop blocking the ports of the Black Sea, stop threatening to deny food and fertilizer exports to countries that criticize your actions. Food supply for millions of Ukrainians and millions of people around the world. The world has literally been taken hostage by the Russian military,” Blinken said at a United Nations Security Council meeting hosted by the United States on May 18.
Russian Ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia countered that Moscow is being blamed for the entire world’s woes. According to him, the world has long suffered from a food crisis caused by a spiral of inflation, logistical difficulties and speculation in Western markets.
He said that Ukraine’s ports are blocked by Ukraine itself and Kiev does not want to cooperate with shipping companies to free dozens of foreign transport ships that are blocked in ports. He also denounced Western sanctions against Russia as exacerbating food insecurity around the world.
Mr. Medvedev, Russia’s president from 2008 to 2012, said that countries importing wheat and Russian food products would face a lot of difficulties without supplies from Russia.
“The fields in Europe and elsewhere would just be weeds without our fertilizers. We have every opportunity to make sure other countries have food and a food crisis doesn’t happen, Just don’t interfere in our affairs,” he insisted.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on May 18 warning The war in Ukraine could cause global food shortages in the coming months and years. Many countries will face famine for years if Ukraine’s food exports are not restored to pre-war levels.
According to him, an effective solution to the food crisis is to bring Ukraine back into the global food supply chain, as well as restore the supply of fertilizers from Russia and Belarus to the world market.
The conflict has crippled Ukraine’s seaport system, which once exported large quantities of sunflower oil as well as grains such as corn and wheat. This situation reduces the supply and causes the prices of substitutes to soar. According to the United Nations, global food prices have increased by about 30% year-on-year.
Russia and Ukraine provide about 30% of global wheat demand. Ukraine was once considered the “breadbasket of the world” with 4.5 million tons of agricultural products exported each month through seaports.
However, Ukraine’s exports plummeted as hostilities broke out, sending food prices up. Food prices rose further after India announced it would stop exporting wheat on May 14.
The UN estimates about 20 million tons of grain is trapped in Ukraine from the previous harvest. If cleared, this amount of food could ease the pressure on the global food market.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry said it would consider the possibility of opening access to Ukraine’s Black Sea ports if the lifting of sanctions against Russia was also considered. Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova reiterated the view that the food crisis is the result of Western sanctions, among other causes.
According to Zakharova, Russia is continuing to provide food under trade agreements and as part of humanitarian assistance.
Huyen Le (According to AFP, Reuters, Guardian)
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