U.S. accuses Russia of “weaponizing food” after halting Ukraine grain exports

In response to the Kremlin’s announcement that it would stop its participation in a deal permitting grain exports to leave Ukrainian ports, Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday accused the Kremlin of “weaponizing food.”

After accusing U.K. navy personnel of ordering Ukrainian drone strikes on ships in Crimea, Russia announced a suspension of the arrangement on Saturday.

The allegations were refuted by the U.K., which said that they were made up to draw attention away from Russian military failures in Ukraine.

The U.S. urged Russia to rejoin the agreement, Blinken said in a statement on Saturday. “By suspending this agreement, Russia is again weaponizing food in the war it started, directly impacting low- and middle-income countries and global food prices, and exacerbating already dire humanitarian crises and food insecurity,” he added.

According to a statement from the White House, President Biden stated on Saturday that Russia’s move was “absolute outrage” and “going to worsen starvation.”
Josep Borrell, the head of foreign policy for the EU, tweeted on Sunday, “Russia’s decision to stop participation in the Black Sea pact puts at danger the principal export route of much-needed grain and fertilizers to alleviate the global food crisis caused by its war against Ukraine.” “The EU calls on Russia to rescind its decision”.

In a statement released on Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed that since September, Russia has been “deliberately escalating the food situation.”
“176 vessels have accumulated in the grain corridor since September and are unable to follow their path. For more than three weeks, some grain haulers have been waiting. Russia is imposing a purposeful blockage here “Zelensky later on. “How can Russia be a member of the G20 when it is actively promoting famine on numerous continents?”

Wheat, sunflower oil, and other agricultural products are among the main exports from Ukraine to the rest of the globe.

In the early stages of the conflict, Russia blocked Ukrainian ports, which exacerbated the global food crisis, particularly in Africa.
But in July, a deal mediated by the UN with Turkey’s assistance made it possible for Ukrainian grain exports to resume in August. According to Politico, the Joint Coordination Center, which was established to oversee food shipments from Ukraine, stated that it was “discussing next options” in light of Russia’s decision.

According to a statement sent by his spokesperson on Sunday, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres has postponed his trip to the Arab League Summit in order to focus on the agreement’s suspension.

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