Blinken accuses Russia of ‘weaponizing food’ by ending grain deal with Ukraine

Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday accused Russia of ‘weaponizing food’ after Moscow ended its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which allowed food supplies to flow out of Ukraine despite the war.

At a press conference, Blinken said the deal, brokered by the United Nations and Turkey, became necessary after Russia invaded and blocked Ukrainian ports.

The deal, he said, “to at least allow grain and other foodstuffs to flow out of Ukraine and into world markets” has delivered 32 million tons of foodstuffs to different country.

“So the result of Russia’s action today – militarizing food, using it as a tool, as a weapon in its war against Ukraine – will be to make food harder to find in places who desperately need it and drive up prices,” Blinken said. said. “We are already seeing the market react to this as prices rise.”

“The main thing is that it is unacceptable. This shouldn’t happen. This should be restored as soon as possible. And I hope every country is watching this very closely. They will see that Russia is responsible for depriving people in desperate need of food around the world and contributing to higher prices at a time when many countries continue to experience very difficult inflation.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said earlier on Monday that Moscow would suspend its part in the deal unless its demands were met to get its own food and fertilizer to the world.

“When the part of the Black Sea agreement related to Russia is implemented, Russia will immediately return to implementing the agreement,” Peskov said.

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