Joe Biden calls Russia’s grain supply a “weapon”: Russia’s declaration on Saturday that it would end a deal allowing the shipment of grain from Ukrainian ports was “outrageous,” according to the United States, and Moscow accuses of using food as a weapon.
After casting his vote in the US midterm elections, President Biden told reporters in Delaware that “it’s simply awful to exacerbate famine.”
His secretary of state, Antony J. Blinken, said that lower-income nations that depended on Ukrainian exports like wheat, maize, and sunflower oil would be particularly hard hit by Russia’s intervention.
Russia is re-weaponizing food in the conflict it began by suspending this agreement, according to Blinken. This directly affects low- and middle-income nations, the price of food globally, and already severe humanitarian problems and food insecurity.
We urge all stakeholders to maintain the viability of this vital effort.
The UN and Turkey mediated a grain agreement in July that let commercial ships transporting agricultural items leave Ukraine and traverse the Black Sea to Turkey.
In response to Ukrainian assaults on the Black Sea Fleet’s ships and facilities, including drone strikes that destroyed a mine-sweeping boat in the port of Sevastopol, Russia said on Saturday that it would halt its participation in the agreement indefinitely.
Millions of tons of grain and other goods have shipped via the agreement as of Thursday. The grain agreement, formally known as the Black Sea Grain Initiative, should continue, the UN secretary general’s spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric urged the combatants, calling it “a key humanitarian initiative.”
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky requested “a forceful international reaction” to the suspension of grain exports, especially from the G20 leaders meeting in Indonesia in the middle of November.