After the European Council president criticised Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for causing a global food crisis, Russia’s UN representative stormed out of a UN Security Council meeting.
According to Charles Michel, Russian food supplies are being used as a “stealth missile” against the developing globe, a “stealth missile” against the poor.
Mr Michel was accused of propagating misinformation by Russian envoy Vassily Nebenzia.
Food has become stranded at Ukrainian ports as a result of the conflict.
Ukraine exports a lot of cooking oil as well as grains like maize and wheat. Russia also exports a large number of cereals and fertiliser. Because of the unavailability of these exports, the cost of alternatives has skyrocketed.
“Let’s be honest, Mr Ambassador of the Russian Federation, the Kremlin is using food supplies as a stealth missile against developing countries,” Mr Michel warned during a meeting of the UN Security Council in New York.
He went on to say that he had witnessed for himself the millions of tonnes of grain stranded in the Ukrainian port of Odesa due to a Russian naval blockade.
Because of its military efforts in Ukraine, Mr Michel also accused Russia of stealing grain and hindering crop planting and harvesting.
Mr Nebenzia stormed out as a result of his remarks. “You may leave the room,” Mr Michel said as he walked away. “Perhaps it’s easier not to listen to the truth.”
Mr Nebenzia told Reuters that he couldn’t stay since “Charles Michel came here to spread lies.”
In a separate meeting, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Russia was stopping Ukrainian grain shipments from leaving the country and accused Russian soldiers of destroying agricultural infrastructure in Ukraine.
At a virtual roundtable with philanthropists, non-governmental organizations, and private sector entities, Mr Blinken said that there are somewhere around 20 million tonnes of wheat trapped in silos near Odesa and on ships filled with grain that is stuck in the Odesa port because of this Russian blockade.
He agreed with Mr Michel that there were plausible claims that Russia was “pilfering” Ukraine’s grain to sell for profit.