re posted from PRESSTV
Russia says US sparks off food crisis in Ukraine by depriving it of grain reserves
Russia says the United States is provoking a food crisis in Ukraine by depriving the ex-Soviet country of its grain reserves.
Since the onset of Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24, waves of unprecedented sanctions from the United States and its European allies have been imposed on Moscow. They are also pouring advanced weapons in Ukraine, a move that Moscow has time and again warned would prolong the conflict.
The ongoing war, and its subsequent blockade on Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, has endangered the world food supply by preventing Ukraine from shipping its agricultural products.
Ukraine, one of the world’s biggest grain producers, is a major exporter of corn, barley, sunflower oil and rapeseed oil. However, it now cannot export its grain via its Black Sea ports due to the war, which has reduced its grain exports this month by more than half compared to a year ago.
On Saturday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova warned that the US is triggering a food crisis in Ukraine by stripping the country from its grain reveres.
“US President Joe Biden’s statement on May 10 about the need to look for opportunities to export 20 mln tones of grain from Ukraine coincided with the signing of the Lend-Lease law for Ukraine. Turns out, Kiev will pay for weapons with wheat,” she said at a press conference.
“In fact, the US itself provokes food crisis in Ukraine, depriving it of grain reserves,” Zakharova said, commenting on the situation with food security amid statements by official representatives of foreign countries regarding the purported “blocking” of the Black Sea.
Russia and Ukraine together produce almost 30 percent of the global wheat supply.
The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP), which purchases almost 50 percent of its grain from Ukraine, feeds some 125 million people around the world.
Zakharova further stressed that the US and its European allies have already expressed intentions to export 20 million tons of grain from Ukraine within two and a half months, purportedly for their transportation to African and Middle Eastern countries in order to prevent a food crisis there.
“However, in reality, grain is transported to warehouses in Europe. Rail, road, and river routes are organized for its delivery to destinations in Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Romania, and Bulgaria,” the Russian diplomat added.
Refuting claims that the ongoing war has caused a price surge in agricultural products around the world, she said prices for such products rose in 2020, which is by no means the result of Russia’s current operation in Ukraine.
“The pandemic has caused major disruptions to supply chains and significantly increased the price of food transportation services,” Zakharova argued.
She also cited experts from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization as repeatedly saying that the prices of such products reached record-breaking figures before February, denouncing the West’s anti-Russian sanctions as the “main catalyst” of the existing negative trends.