Ukraine-related sanctions made the existing problems worse, an ambassador to Washington claimed
Global food security is currently under threat due to the "incompetent macroeconomic decisions" of the West and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Russian Ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov said on Thursday.
"The problems arose long before the start of the Russian special operation in Ukraine. They were aggravated by the wave of unilateral, illegitimate, anti-Russian sanctions, which undermined trust in Western nations due to their erratic behavior," he said, as cited by the embassy's social media.
"[The sanctions] also disrupted supply chains and international financial flows," he added. "Moreover, threats of additional restrictions cause more panic and instability."
The accusations came in response to claims coming from the US that Russian military action in Ukraine was causing a global food crisis. Secretary of State Antony Blinken put the blame for the escalating food shortages on Moscow in a speech at a UN meeting in New York on Wednesday.
"Some have tried to blame the sanctions imposed on ... the Russian Federation by the United States and many other countries for worsening this crisis. This is false. When we imposed sanctions on Russia in order to end the war as quickly as possible, we deliberately and carefully created exceptions for agricultural goods and fertilizer," he stated.
"As with its decision to start this unjustified war, responsibility for the disruption of these supplies and the suffering that it's causing around the world lies squarely and solely with the Russian government," the secretary stated.
His exceptions claim was 'gaslighting', Ambassador Antonov argued. "Financial and transport sanctions have a direct impact on global food markets," he said.
In a speech on Wednesday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for all restrictions on Russian food and fertilizers to be lifted. Otherwise "tens of millions of people [would tip] over the edge into food insecurity, followed by malnutrition, mass hunger and famine, in a crisis that could last for years," he warned.
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine's failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow's eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered Minsk Protocol was designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.