Russia accused at the UN of causing a "world food crisis"

Russia was accused on Tuesday at the UN of causing a “global food crisis” that could lead to a “famine” by attacking Ukraine and sparking a war between two grain-producing powers.

“Russian President Vladimir Putin started this war. He created this world food crisis and he is the one who can stop it,” Wendy Sherman, the number 2 in US diplomacy, told the UN Security Council.

In a session dedicated to the humanitarian situation in Ukraine, Sherman said that “only Russia and President Putin bear the responsibility for the war in Ukraine and the consequences of this war on world food security,” he added.

France’s ambassador to the UN, Nicolas de Rivière, argued that “Russia’s aggression against Ukraine increases the risk of world famine.”

The UN assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, Joyce Msuya, warned that the conflict “threatens to make things even worse in the biggest humanitarian crises on the planet such as those in Afghanistan, Yemen and the Horn of Africa.”

“These countries are already fighting against food insecurity, the fragility of their economies, the increase in the price of fuel, of fertilizers that will severely affect current and future campaigns,” he warned.

The director of the World Food Program (WFP) David Beasley and Wendy Sherman recalled that Ukraine and Russia are among the “largest producers” of cereals. They represent “30% of world wheat exports, 20% of world corn and 75% of sunflower oil.”

Nearly “50% of the grain we buy comes from Ukraine and we fed 125 million people” before the war, Beasley said. He warned that the impact could be “devastating” for PAM operations.

The European Union (EU) announced on Friday an initiative to alleviate the food shortages caused by the war. The EU and the United States want a multilateral commitment against restrictions on exports of agricultural raw materials.

The risk of famine is feared due to the lack of cereals in the Middle East and North Africa. Egypt, Turkey, Bangladesh or Nigeria, very populous countries, are the main importers of cereals from Russia and Ukraine.

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