Africa ‘held hostage’ by Russian invasion, Zelensky says

Nairobi, Kenya – ‘Africa is literally taken hostage’ Russiainvasion Ukraine Amid the catastrophic rise in food prices, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told the African Union continental body in a closed-door speech on Monday.

Zelenskyy spent weeks addressing African countries, many of whom maintain close ties Russia And failed to support a UN General Assembly resolution condemning the invasion earlier this year.

Ukraine The West hopes that by emphasizing RussiaThe continent’s 1.3 billion people face severe shortages of wheat and cooking oil, and food and fuel prices are soaring. RussiaThe EU’s top diplomat, Jose P Borrell, said on Monday that the blockade of Ukrainian exports was a “war crime”.

“They are trying to use your suffering and the suffering of the people to put pressure on the democracies that have imposed sanctions on these countries. Russia,” Zelensky told the AU, whose leaders recently Russia Echoing comments made by Russian President Vladimir Putin and echoing Moscow’s assertion that Western sanctions were partly to blame for the food security crisis.They called on other countries to ensure food and fertilizer exports Russia and Ukraine Not blocked.

Millions of people in the Horn of Africa, including Ethiopia and Somalia, are struggling to find food and even humanitarian food aid amid a historic drought. The Associated Press was the first to report hundreds of deaths this year in Somalia alone.

“We know the death toll is going to increase … until 2023,” Sean Jones, USAID’s Ethiopia mission director, told The Associated Press last week.

The official reaction to Zelensky’s remarks was muted. Moussa Faki Mahamat, the head of the African Union Commission who met Putin, tweeted that African countries “reaffirmed the AU’s position that dialogue is urgently needed to end the conflict”. The current African Union chairman, Senegalese President Macky Sall, tweeted that Africa respects “the peaceful resolution of conflicts and freedom of business”.

Russia The largest arms exporter in sub-Saharan Africa, Moscow highlights its longstanding ties with African countries dating back to the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, some African leaders are outraged at efforts by global powers to choose one side or the other.

Ukraine Later this week, its foreign minister will address African journalists at a briefing organised by the US government on “how”The Russian Federationfull-scale invasion Ukraine Affects food security on the African continent. “

The EU’s top diplomat says he has written to all African foreign ministers explaining the EU’s Russia Not responsible for the looming global food crisis and pledged to find ways to export food and fertilizers to their continent.

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