Russia and Ukraine combined supplied over a quarter of the global wheat consumption prior to the war. The areas surrounding the Black Sea have been nicknamed the “world’s breadbasket” due to their high grain production and fertile soil.
As the conflict continues to escalate, shipments are being blocked and food shortages are ever increasing.
The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has previously declared the need for the weapons to fight back against Russia’s blockade in the Black Sea.
According to President Zelensky, if the blockade is allowed to continue, 75 million tonnes of grain could end up stuck in Ukraine by the autumn.
The Kremlin has denied blocking the exports of millions of tonnes of grain from Ukraine ports.
According to the US State Department, Russia is blaming both the West and Ukraine for the global food shortage in a “massive disinformation campaign” primarily targeting the areas most affected by the crisis – the Middle East and Africa.
These two areas receive over half of their wheat from Ukraine.
Previously, Yale historian Timothy Snyder said that President Putin may be planning to use the starvation in other countries as part of his war tactics in Ukraine, trying to use it as a “backdrop for a propaganda contest”.
Professor Snyder said: “When the food riots begin, and as starvation spreads, Russian propaganda will blame Ukraine, and call for Russia’s territorial gains in Ukraine to be recognised, and for all sanctions to be lifted.”
In what the US State Department reported on Wednesday, it appears that the Professor was certainly on the right track.
The report said: “This disinformation is intended to both hide Russia’s culpability and persuade leaders of at-risk countries to support an end to sanctions designed to stop Russia’s unjust and brutal war in Ukraine.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov gave an Africa Day speech on May 25 where he urged African officials to demand the lifting of sanctions over food insecurity.
The report added: “The Russian government should stop weaponizing food and allow Ukraine to safely ship out its grain so that millions of hungry people in the Middle East and Africa can be fed.”