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Foreign Minister Asks African Leaders to Pressure Russia to End war in Ukraine

Speaking to Journalists across Africa in a call organized by the United States Department of State, Kuleba said that the ongoing war that was launched in February is having a devastating impact on food security not only in Ukraine but also far afield in Africa.
24 Jun 2022 13:01
Dymitry Kuleba
The Ukrainian Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba has asked African leaders to task Russia to end its war on its country.

Speaking to Journalists across Africa in a call organized by the United States Department of State, Kuleba said that the ongoing war that was launched in February is having a devastating impact on food security not only in Ukraine but also far afield in Africa.

Ukraine is one of the leading exporters of agricultural products in the world, and according to Kuleba, African states have a crucial role to play in influencing Russia's position. He added that  Ukraine will continue working closely with all African nations in the coming days and weeks to ensure that all contracted goods reach destined markets and to overcome the global food crisis provoked by Russia’s irresponsible actions

I urge the world and all African states to work together and pressure Russia to allow a safe sea route for our food exports. African states have a crucial role in this, and many already work together with us to achieve it," he said, adding that for many years, Ukraine has been a reliable and trustworthy partner of African states, especially in agricultural trade and that there have never been any major problems in delivering our high-quality food products African nations.

“As a mighty agricultural nation, Ukraine has grown millions of tons of wheat, corn, sunflower, and other products and happily delivered them to African markets. The Russian army launched a massive and devastating attack on our country from all directions – from air, land, and sea.  Russian warships approached our Black Sea ports in an attempt to capture them.

According to him, when Russia started its invasion, it knew the consequences this will have, not only for Ukraine but for the entire world.  "Its relentless naval blockade of our seaports destroys the lives of people far from the battlefield, affecting the global food system previously already weakened by climate change and COVID-19 pandemic,” Kuleba said.

He added that it is horrifying for Russia to play hunger games with the world by blocking Ukrainian food exports with one hand but also trying to shift the blame on Ukraine. He adds that by blocking food supplies, Russia is engaging in late colonialism. 

“Moscow is afraid that African nations will turn their backs on Russia because of the food crisis it has caused. This is the main reason why Russian officials keep lying that it is Ukraine, the United States, the European Union or anyone else but Russia to blame for food shortages, rising prices, and the risk of hunger. I sincerely call on all of our African friends to reject these lies.

Ukraine has always been happy to export its agricultural products, and we will be happy to resume it as soon as possible.  We do not put forward any special conditions.  We just want Russia to end its blockade and allow unhindered, protected export,” Kuleba said.

Ukraine provides 10 per cent of the world’s wheat, 14 per cent of the world’s corn, and 47 per cent of all sunflower oil on the planet. Equally many African countries depend on Ukraine for their food imports. 44 per cent of wheat imported to Libya comes from Ukraine, 42 per cent for Tunisia, 26 per cent for Egypt, 26 per cent for Ethiopia, 15 per cent for Morocco and 26 per cent for Egypt among others.

“We want to export our agricultural products to you as badly as you want to receive them…The truth is that we are sparing no effort to deliver these exports to you as soon as possible, also because this makes part of our budget and now suffering from economic hurdles, economic difficulties, we need to make money on the global market by selling our agricultural products and supplying them to their consumers,” Kuleba said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has blamed Ukraine and its Western backers for using food as a weapon in war. Putin says Ukraine is trying to use the food sentiment to mobilize the world in its favour in the ongoing war.

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