Question: US representatives accused Russia of undermining global food security at a recent conference in New York. What could you say about this?
Maria Zakharova: Indeed, we noted the latest unfriendly statements made by American representatives about our country at the Food Security Conference they organised in New York. It took place on May 18 with a limited number of states but with a very specific task – to prove that the special military operation in Ukraine is the main reason for the global food shortage.
We are not surprised. These anti-Russia accusations are part of a well-orchestrated campaign of the collective West. Its goal is to blame Russia for all global problems. We are well aware that the United States and its allies in Europe are manipulatively trying to disorient the international community and persuade other countries to support the Western anti-Russia line.
In this context, we would like to recall again the real root causes for the deterioration of the global food security situation, which our Western colleagues always seem to forget. The global economic turbulence is the result of their attempts to impose their own vision of an “ideal and universal economic model.” Their own miscalculations and accumulated system-wide mistakes in financial, energy, climate and food policy are merely hastening the onset of a series of global crises.
It would also be inaccurate to downplay the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is no secret that prices on different products, including food, have been growing for several years now throughout the world due to disruptions in production and marketing chains, soaring freight and insurance costs, and so on.
Finally, the sanctions hysteria unleashed against our country can hardly be considered as contributing to macroeconomic stability. The whole world was affected by a record number of restrictions placed on Russia’s foreign trade. Naturally, economically vulnerable nations were the hardest hit.
The unilateral illegal measures taken by Western countries have worsened the disruption of the logistics and financial chains involved in supplying food to world markets. Restrictions on trade with Russia, one of the leading suppliers of agricultural products and energy, targeted sanctions against domestic economic operators, banks and transport companies, the closure of ports to our ships and refusal to insure cargoes, caused destabilisation and increased global food prices. The continued threats of new restrictions are merely worsening panic and instability.
We are categorically refuting the accusations expressed at the said conference by Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) David Beasley from the United States. He said Russia was using “hunger as a weapon of war.” Such statements are inappropriate and contradict the principles of objectivity and neutrality that Mr Beasley is obliged to strictly abide by as an international official.
The allegations about Russia’s blocking of Ukrainian grain exports in Black Sea ports and the ensuing grain shortage in the market, are nothing but unfounded assumptions. Russia is not blocking Ukrainian exports. Logistics problems were caused by Kiev when its troops mined their own seaports. Russia is continuously opening humanitarian corridors to the sea.
Russia continues supplying food products in line with its commercial commitments and as humanitarian aid to the population of needy countries via bilateral and multilateral channels, including the WFP. Our country is interested in the stable functioning of the global food market.