By Ateet Sharma
New Delhi, May 28: Russian President Vladimir Putin has once again emphasised that attempts to make Moscow responsible for the difficulties with the supply of agricultural products to world markets are “groundless”.
In what the Kremlin described as “a thorough exchange of views” on issues related to global food security with Austrian Federal Chancellor Karl Nehammer on Friday, Putin said that the Ukrainian side should clear the ports as soon as possible for the free passage of blocked ships.
Informing Nehammer about the Russian military’s ongoing work to ensure the safety of navigation in the waters of the Azov and Black Seas, Putin accused Kyiv of sabotaging the negotiation process between representatives of the two countries.
“Detailed explanations were given of the real causes of these problems, which have arisen, among other things, due to anti-Russian sanctions by the United States and the European Union,” the Russian President’s office said in a statement after the telephone conversation between the two leaders.
Putin also reaffirmed that Russia would fully fulfill its contractual obligations to supply natural gas to Austria.
As reported by IndiaNarrative.com earlier, there appears to be no end in sight to the growing global food crisis in the world due to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
Earlier today, Anatoly Antonov, the Russian ambassador to Washington, slammed fresh statements by representatives of the US administration that Russia is deliberately contributing to the growth of the food crisis in the world.
He said that difficulties in the area have been accumulating for a long time and are related to miscalculations and systematic errors in the macroeconomic, primarily financial and foreign trade, energy and food policies of Western countries.
The Covid-19 pandemic, said the Russian diplomat, also caused significant disruption to value chains as the logistics costs doubled and naturally led to a sharp rise in food prices.
“Further aggravation of the crisis occurred due to the introduction by Washington and its satellites of illegitimate sanctions against Russia. Despite sending American officials to exemptions from the restrictive regime, allegedly providing for the opportunity to trade agro-industrial goods with our country, domestic exporters often cannot arrange such deliveries,” Antonov told media in Washington.
“They face blocking payments, denials of loans and insurance, problems with chartering ships and purchasing agricultural equipment and even seeds. In addition, the United States continues to raise duties on the import of our fertilizers. What is this if not the height of hypocrisy?” he added.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba dialled US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday, stating that Ukraine and the US continue to work “hand in hand to deliver food exports despite Russia’s reckless blockade”.
“The Secretary and Foreign Minister Kuleba shared updates on efforts to resolve the global food security crisis caused by President Putin’s invasion, noting that the Kremlin continues to weaponize food and spread false claims about US sanctions,” the US State Department said in a statement.
Last week, at a meeting of the UN Security Council on the issue of hunger and armed conflict, Blinken had accused the Vladimir Putin government of “using the hunger of civilians” to advance its objectives in Ukraine.
However, nearly 10 days after the meeting, the situation remains largely unchanged with no “meaningful solution” to end the global food insecurity – as was suggested by the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres by reintegrating Ukraine’s agricultural production and the food and fertilizer production of Russia and Belarus into world markets despite the war – having been found till now.
(The content is being carried under an arrangement with indianarrative.com)