The United States and Russia on Thursday blamed each other for the deteriorating food situation around the world since the start of the war in Ukraine.
Washington has called on Russia to allow the export of Ukrainian grain stuck in the Black Sea port. Ukraine is one of the top wheat producing countries in the world.
“Stop blocking ports in the Black Sea. Allow free flow of food-carrying ships and trains and trucks outside Ukraine,” Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said during a UN Security Council meeting hosted by the United States.
“Stop threatening to stop food and fertilizer exports from countries critical of your war of aggression,” he said.
Blinken added that “food supplies for millions of Ukrainians and millions more around the world have been literally taken hostage by the Russian military.”
Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vasily Nebenzia, retaliated by saying that his country was being blamed for all the misery in the world.
He said the world has long been suffering from a food crisis due to rising insurance costs, logistical snarls and inflationary spirals arising from speculation in the Western market.
He argued that Ukraine’s ports had been blocked by Ukraine itself, which he said had planted mines along the Black Sea coast.
And Ukraine does not want to cooperate with shipping companies to free dozens of foreign cargo ships stranded in ports, Nebenzia said.
He also condemned Western sanctions against Russia, saying their consequences were worsening food insecurity around the world.
Blinken countered that “sanctions do not prevent Russia from exporting food and fertilizer.”
“Sanctions imposed by the United States and many other countries deliberately include things carved from Russia for food, fertilizer and seeds,” he said.
“The decision to arm the food was made by Moscow and Moscow alone,” Blinken said.
A day after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Russia to allow Ukrainian grain exports, about 80 countries planned to address council meetings.
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