Kirby: Putin has Weaponized Food
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which started just over a year ago, has impacted food security and increased food inflation, according to U.S. National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby.
“Putin has weaponized food. He's weaponized energy and oil, he's weaponized information, clearly, and he's also tried to weaponize food. And Mr. Lavrov, his foreign minister, will fly around to places in Africa and Latin America and claim that the reason why there's food shortages or high inflation for food products is because of the West propagating all this conflict in Ukraine. And of course, we all know that to be a bald-faced lie.”
Kirby said the unprovoked war started by Russia has an impact on global food security.
"Mr. Putin’s war, a war he chose, has in fact had an impact on food prices around the world and in the availability of particularly grains, not just grains, but predominantly grains coming out of Ukraine. And it's important that we understand the reverberations of that decision by Mr. Putin, to move into Ukraine and what that's done to food security all around the world. There is a direct tie to what's going on in Ukraine and what's getting on or not getting on kitchen tables around the world.”
The agreement to allow grain exports from Ukraine, Kirby noted, is helping.
“Now, we have worked closely with the UN and our NATO ally Turkey to get a grain deal in place where there's a series of inspections which Turkey is hosting that allows grain to get out of Ukraine, and we have been able to extend this deal now. And it's still working, there is still grain being exported out of Ukraine. It has helped alleviate some of the food shortages, particularly in what we call the global south.”
Kirby said food security is just another reason the world wants to see the war end, but he doesn’t expect the U.S. to put boots on the ground to help revitalize Ukraine’s agriculture.
"The issue of food insecurity globally is very much tied to this war in Ukraine and another reason why we all want to see this war end as soon as possible so that Ukraine’s grain market can be restored, the health of their agricultural can be brought back and we can try to alleviate some of these shortages," Kirby continued. "Other than the direct humanitarian assistance that we are providing financially and through our partners, I would not anticipate an American presence on the ground to directly assist in agricultural revitalization, or humanitarian delivery.”
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