Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has accused Russia of creating ‘artificial starvation conditions’ and suggested it should be kicked out of the G-20 group of nations on Saturday after Moscow pulled out of a crucial peace deal. grain export.
“How can Russia be part of the G-20 if it is deliberately working towards starvation on several continents? Zelenskyy during a speech on Ukrainian television.
“It’s nonsense,” he said before suggesting that Russia should have “no place” in the Group of 20, which includes the world’s largest economies and strives to solve problems. issues such as sustainable development, the global economy and climate change.
He also said that Russia was “doing everything so that millions of Africans, millions of people in the Middle East and South Asia find themselves in conditions of artificial starvation or at least a serious price crisis”. .
His comments came after the Kremlin said on Saturday it would withdraw from the UN-brokered grain export deal to allow safe passage for ships carrying grain to and from the city of Odessa and two other Ukrainian ports.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said on Saturday that the Ukrainian army had targeted its ships near the port city of Sevastopol in the Crimean peninsula annexed by Russia.
Accusing British Navy “specialists” of helping coordinate what she called a “terrorist” attack, she said the attack was carried out with 16 drones.
The Ukrainian government has denied being behind the attack and the UK Ministry of Defense did not respond to requests for comment from NBC News.
Russia faced international condemnation for the move. President Joe Biden has warned that world hunger could increase due to Russia’s decision to suspend the deal.
“It’s truly outrageous,” Biden said, speaking Saturday in Wilmington, Delaware, as reported by The Associated Press. “There is no merit in what they are doing. The UN brokered this deal and that should be the end of it.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken also accused Russia of weaponizing food. “Any act by Russia to disrupt these critical grain exports is essentially a statement that individuals and families around the world should pay more for food or go hungry,” he said in a statement on Saturday.
Elsewhere, European Union foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell Fontelles wrote on Twitter that Moscow’s decision could affect the delivery of much-needed grain, while British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said on Twitter that Russia should allow exports to “reach the whole world”. hunger.”
Russia’s Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov on Sunday chastised the United States for making what he said were false claims about Moscow’s decision to suspend its participation.
“Washington’s reaction to the terrorist attack on the port of Sevastopol is truly outrageous,” Antonov said on Telegram. “We have seen no sign of condemnation of the Kyiv regime’s reckless actions.”
Russia’s announcement came a day after Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary-general, urged Moscow and Ukraine to renew the export deal, which was due to expire on November 19.
António Guterres said on Friday that the agreement – brokered by the UN and Turkey – had helped “to cushion the suffering that this global cost of living crisis is inflicting on billions of people”.
After Russia’s announcement, Guterres’ spokesman Stephane Dujarric said it was “vital that all parties refrain from any action that would jeopardize” the initiative.
Ukraine is one of the largest agricultural producers and exporters in the world and plays a vital role in supplying grain to the world market.
In May, the United Nations World Food Program said some 47 million people were at risk of “acute hunger”, as the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February cut off grain shipments, with the biggest increases being expected in sub-Saharan Africa.
The grain deal had revived shipments from Ukraine, allowing sales on world markets, targeting the pre-war level of 5 million metric tons exported from Ukraine each month.
More than 9 million tons of maize, wheat, sunflower products, barley, rapeseed and soybeans have been exported since the agreement was concluded.
Moscow’s departure from the grain deal marks a new development in a war that has recently been dominated by Russian retreats in the face of a Ukrainian counteroffensive that has recaptured large areas of territory from Moscow forces in the east from the country.