“Hunger should not be misused as a weapon”: Blinken criticizes Russian withdrawal from grain agreement

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken criticized Moscow for withdrawing from the Black Sea Grains Initiative and said Russia’s war on Ukraine has triggered an attack on the global food system.

Blinken emphasized, according to The Kyiv Independent, that “hunger must not be weaponized.” He continued, “Every member of this Council, every member of the United Nations, should say to Moscow: enough. Enough of using the Black Sea as blackmail; enough of using the world’s most vulnerable people as leverage; enough of this unjustified, unconscionable war,” the U.S. official said.” Blinken added that 91 UN member states have already signed a new joint communiqué pledging to end the use of famine, starvation and food as weapons of war.

Russia terminated agreement in mid-July

On July 17, Russia terminated the Black Sea Grains Agreement brokered by Turkey and the United Nations in July 2022 and began attacking Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea and Danube. The initiative allowed Ukraine to fully export its agricultural products even during the Russian war and played a crucial role in stabilizing food prices worldwide. During the period of the grain agreement, Ukraine exported about 32 million tons of food products around the world, mainly to developing countries.

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Image: U.S. Secretary of Defense, 221206-D-TT977-0131 (52547991638), CC BY 2.0, via. Wikimedia Commons (image size modified)

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