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Russia weaponizes hunger to destabilize global food market, Ukraine’s Zelenskyy warns UN Secretary General

vessel ukraine grain initiative depart odesa port
A vessel with Ukrainian grain departs the Port of Odesa. Illustrative image via X/Twitter
Russia weaponizes hunger to destabilize global food market, Ukraine’s Zelenskyy warns UN Secretary General

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy discussed the Russian decision to suspend the Black Sea grain deal with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

President Zelenskyy warned UN Secretary-General about the Russian attempt to weaponize hunger and destabilize the global food market.

“The terrorist state [Russia – ed.] has endangered the lives of 400 million people in various countries that depend on Ukrainian food exports. The most critical situation is in such countries of Africa and Asia as Somalia, Ethiopia, South Sudan, and Yemen,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said. “The Black Sea Grain Initiative must be preserved. We have agreed with Mr. Guterres to work with the responsible states to restore food security and food supply via the Black Sea routes,” President Zelenskyy added.

In his daily address to Ukrainians, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also commented on the Russian decision to suspend the Black Sea grain deal.

“I have sent official letters to the President of Türkiye Erdoğan and UN Secretary-General Guterres with a proposal to continue the Black Sea Grain Initiative or its analog in a trilateral format – as it is best. Ukraine, the UN, and Türkiye can jointly ensure the operation of the food corridor and the inspection of vessels,” President Zelenskyy said during his address. “Africa has the right to stability. Asia has the right to stability. Europe has every right to stability. And therefore, we must all care about security – about protection from Russian madness. Ukrainian food is basic security for four hundred million people,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

President Zelenskyy claimed that the Black Sea Grain Initiative allowed Ukraine to export around 33 million tonnes of agricultural products to 45 countries. Sixty percent of the Ukrainian food exports went to the countries of Africa and Asia, such as Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, China, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Pakistan, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen, according to Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

“It is very important – our food export allows saving lives in the countries, as I said, like Yemen and Somalia… Different people of different religions, different ethnic origins. But they all have the same right to life! And the world must protect this right,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

On 17 July, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced Russia’s suspension of the Black Sea grain agreement, signed in the summer of 2022 to unblock the export of Ukrainian grain.

Prices for wheat started rising following the Russian statement. In particular, Benchmark Chicago wheat futures rose as much as 4.2% after Russia said it wouldn’t extend the Black Sea deal past its Monday expiration date.


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