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90 countries support ending the use of food as weapon

vessel ukraine grain initiative depart odesa port
A vessel with Ukrainian grain departs the Port of Odesa. Illustrative image via X/Twitter
90 countries support ending the use of food as weapon

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on all United Nations member countries to demand that Russia stop using the Black Sea as a tool of blackmail, Reuters reports.

This comes after Moscow withdrew from a deal that had allowed Ukraine to safely export its grain to global markets. Blinken chaired a UN Security Council meeting focused on famine and food insecurity caused by conflict, during which he urged nations to take a stand against Russia’s actions.

The US-drafted communique, supported by nearly 90 countries, commits to ending the use of food as a weapon of war and preventing the starvation of civilians as a tactic of warfare. While the US, EU, and others have accused Russia of exacerbating the global food crisis through its invasion of Ukraine, the communique does not explicitly single out any countries.

Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea export deal led to increased targeting of Ukrainian ports and grain infrastructure in the region, leading to a surge in global grain prices. Russia has indicated a willingness to reinstate the agreement if its demands for improved grain and fertilizer exports are met.

Blinken refuted Russia’s claims, stating that the sanctions do not affect food and fertilizer exports. He pointed out that Russia had been exporting more grain at higher prices than ever before when it abandoned the initiative. The United States pledged $362 million in new funding to address food insecurity and enhance resilience in 11 African countries and Haiti.

In a separate formal statement, the Security Council strongly condemned the use of starvation of civilians as a method of warfare, noting that it is prohibited by international humanitarian law.

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