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Blinken: Russia's war in Ukraine is 'assault on global food system'

by Dinara Khalilova August 4, 2023 12:16 AM 2 min read
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken leaves after speaking to the press outside the UN Security on August 3, 2023, in New York. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)
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U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken criticized Moscow for withdrawing from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, emphasizing that "hunger must not be weaponized."

At the U.N. Security Council meeting on Aug.3, Blinken said Russia's war against Ukraine sparked "an assault" on the global food system.

"Every member of this council, every member of the United Nations, should tell Moscow: enough. Enough using the Black Sea as blackmail; enough treating the world's most vulnerable people as leverage; enough of this unjustified, unconscionable war," the U.S. official said.

Blinken added that 91 U.N. member states had already signed a new joint communique "committing to end the use of famine, starvation, and food as weapons of war."

Reuters: EU warns that Russia seeks to create dependencies through cheap grain
The EU has warned developing countries and the Group of 20 (G20) members that Russia is offering cheap grain “to create new dependencies,” Reuters reported on Aug. 3, citing a letter it has obtained.

On July 17, Russia withdrew from the Black Sea grain agreement, brokered by Turkey and the United Nations in July 2022, and began attacking Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea and the Danube River.

The initiative allowed Ukraine to continue exporting its agricultural products during Russia's full-scale war and played a crucial role in stabilizing food prices worldwide. While the grain deal was in place, Ukraine exported around 32 million tons of food to the world, mainly developing countries.

"Keep in mind, this initiative should never have been necessary in the first place. It only was necessary because of Russia's invasion of Ukraine and its blockade of Ukrainian ports," reads Blinken's statement. "But the initiative produced concrete, demonstrable, powerful results in making sure that these food products could continue to get to world markets, going to those who needed it."

Since Russia's one-sided termination of the deal, grain prices have risen by over 8% around the world, according to Blinken.

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