Antony Blinken accuses Russia of ‘assault’ on the world food system

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By Euronews  with agencies

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has accused Russia of an ‘assault’ on the global food system, saying grain prices have increased by eight per cent since it pulled out of the Black Sea initiative.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, speaking at the United Nations on Thursday, has accused Russia of “blackmail” over its recent withdrawal from the UN-brokered Black Sea grain initiative.

“Every member of the United Nations should tell Moscow ‘enough’. Enough of treating the world’s most vulnerable people as leverage,” he said.

Blinken was presiding over a Security Council meeting on the famine and food insecurity caused by Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Moscow pulled out of the UN-brokered deal in mid-July which allowed Kyiv to safely ship its grain to global markets.

Blinken said grain prices had increased by more than eight per cent around the world since Russia’s withdrawal from the agreement, hitting poorer countries hard.

Signed in July 2022, the deal aimed to alleviate the risk of global famine by guaranteeing access to markets for Ukraine, one of the world’s top grain exporters.

In the two weeks since it refused to extend the agreement, Russia has repeatedly attacked Ukraine’s agricultural and port infrastructure.

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Moscow is demanding guarantees on another agreement concerning its own exports, in particular for fertilizer components.

At the Security Council meeting, Blinken will present a draft communique on the subject of food security.

At least 90 countries have already signed the statement, committing to “take action to end the use of food as a weapon of war and to cease the starvation of civilians as a tactic of warfare”.

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