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Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that sanctions against Russia are indeed the catalyst for an upcoming global food crisis.
Agreeing with the opinion of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on the latent risk of famine in the world, the President's press secretary said on Monday, "[This] is true. But when it comes to grain, the president said that the imposed sanctions and restrictions led to the collapse we are now witnessing."
According to the UN secretary-general, Russia's military operation in Ukraine has joined issues that are currently threatening the global food market conditions, such as climate change and Covid-19 pandemic after-effects.
In this sense, Guterres asked Moscow to cease blocking the export of foodstuffs from Ukrainian ports, but also noted that Russian fertilizers and food products should be able to access world markets without hindrance.
In response, the Kremlin spokesperson said that Russia does not hinder Ukraine from exporting grain to Poland by rail at all. As for maritime transportation, Peskov said that the deployment of naval forces in the Black Sea by the Ukrainian military has disrupted trade and navigation, so special measures are required to resume shipping.
The press secretary also referred to alternative routes, to which he reaffirmed that "we are not the source of the problem that is causing the threat of hunger in the world. The sources of this problem are those who imposed the sanctions, and the sanctions themselves."
Since Russia and Ukraine are the main suppliers of wheat, contributing 30 percent of world exports, prices have risen sharply following Russia's launch of its demilitarization and denazification operation in Ukraine, coupled with the ensuing sanctions imposed against Moscow.
The fact that both nations, along with Belarus, are leaders in fertilizer production further worsens the situation on the world food market.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Rudenko called accusations that Russia is obstructing the export of grain from Ukraine at Black Sea ports mere speculation. "All restrictive measures that were introduced against Russian exports should be canceled," the deputy foreign minister said.
For his part, Security Council Deputy Chairman Dmitry Medvedev has said that Russia would not export food at the expense of its own population. Speaking about sanctions against Russia, Medvedev said that the West could lay the blame for the coming food crisis on its own "cosmic cretinism."