28th May 2022 – (Moscow) Russian ambassador to the US Anatoly Antonov on Friday said the food crisis, which had been unfolding for the past couple years, worsened due sanctions on Russia by the US and its satellites.
“The crisis was further exacerbated due to the introduction by Washington and its satellites of illegitimate sanctions against Russia,” he said in statement released by the Russian embassy in Washington. “Despite the references of US officials to exemptions from the restrictions, which allegedly provide for the opportunity for our country to trade in farm goods, domestic exporters often don’t have a chance to make shipments.”
“They face blocked payments, denials of loans and insurance, problems with booking freight ships, purchase of farm equipment and even seeds,” he went on to say. “In addition, the US continues to increase import taxes on our fertilizers.”
Antonov described such actions as “the utmost hypocrisy” and called the US attempts to blame Russia for the food crisis as absolutely unfounded.
“We urge a halt to shifting the blame,” he continued. “Russia is committed to its export obligations and is ready for negotiations to resolve this most serious problem, including through the UN.”
The diplomat also said that difficulties in the food market have been building up for a long time, at least over the past two years. “They are associated with miscalculations and systemic errors in the macroeconomic policy – primarily financial and foreign trade policies – and energy and food policies of Western countries,” he said. “At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to significant disruptions of supply chains.”
“Freight costs have almost doubled,” he continued. “Naturally, all this couldn’t not fail but lead to a sharp increase in food prices. Wheat prices increased by a quarter over 2021.”
The Wall Street Journal earlier reported that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is negotiating with Russia and Ukraine to unblock the export of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea in exchange for the lifting of a number of sanctions that hinder the export of Russian fertilisers. Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the UN Vasily Nebenzya and Permanent Representative of the United States Linda Thomas-Greenfield confirmed that there are talks on resuming the exports of Ukrainian grain and Russian fertilisers to the global market. However, the sides insists that these issues are discussed separately from each other and don’t assume any exchanges.