Russia calls for lifting sanctions to avoid global food crisis

A senior Russian diplomat on Wednesday demanded the lifting of sanctions imposed on Moscow as a condition to averting a global food crisis over the disruption of Ukraine’s grain exports since the Kremlin offensive began.

“The solution to the food problem requires a coordinated approach, including the lifting of sanctions on Russian exports and financial transactions,” Deputy Foreign Minister Andrei Rudenko was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying.

He also demanded “to rid Kyiv” of the Black Sea ports so that ships could export grain. To this end, the diplomat emphasized that Russia was “ready to ensure humanitarian passage” for the boats.

Known for its very fertile black soil, Ukraine was the world’s fourth largest exporter of corn before the attack and is on its way to becoming the third largest exporter of wheat.

But the conflict has disrupted Ukrainian agricultural production and Kyiv and the West accuse Russia of blocking the export of grain through the Black Sea, raising the risk of a serious global food crisis.

On Tuesday evening, the Russian military accused the West of seeking “to get the grain out of Ukraine as quickly as possible (…) without fear of what will happen in the country once the grain reserves run out.”

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