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EU says Russia, not sanctions, to blame for global food crisis

BRUSSELS, Belgium — The European Union’s top diplomat says he has written to all African foreign ministers to explain that the bloc’s sanctions on Russia are not responsible for the looming global food crisis, and pledges to work out ways for exports of food and fertilizers to reach their continent.

The EU has not banned exports of Russian food or fertilizers to non-EU nations as part of its sanctions package.

Earlier this month, the chairman of the African Union, Senegal’s President Macky Sall, told Russian President Vladimir Putin that the fighting in Ukraine and Western sanctions had worsened food shortages, and appealed to other countries to ensure grain and fertilizer exports from Russia and Ukraine are not blocked.

“Russia is blockading Ukrainian exports,” Josep Borrell says after a meeting of EU Foreign Affairs ministers. “Not us. Russia is destroying ports, and destroying food stocks, destroying transport infrastructure.”

Russia’s war against Ukraine has been preventing some 20 million tons of Ukrainian grain from getting to the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Asia.

Borrell says it is “a deliberate attempt (by Russia) to create hunger in the world,” adding that the Kremlin’s attempt to blame Western sanctions for the crisis was just “propaganda.”

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