White House won’t lift sanctions despite Russian pressure amid looming food crisis

The White House said on Thursday it would not bow to Russia’s call to lift war sanctions on Ukraine, as the Kremlin seeks to pass the buck on the looming global food crisis.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday pressured world leaders to lift sanctions, claiming that Western punishment is preventing the export of millions of tons of food and other agricultural products.

White House press secretary Karin Jean-Pierre said the United States would not budge.

“This is what Russia is doing,” she said. “Sanctions by the U.S. and its allies and partners have not blocked Ukrainian or Russian agricultural exports, including food and fertilizers, nor the common transactions necessary for these transactions.”

Ukraine and Russia are among the world’s largest producers of wheat, corn and sunflower oil. Russia mines in many Ukrainian ports, hindering exports of critical food supplies.

“It’s Russia that is actively blocking exports from Ukrainian ports and is increasing world hunger,” she said.

Analysts fear the lockdown has put the world on the brink of a food security crisis.

The Kremlin also argues that U.S. sanctions hinder its own ability to export agricultural products. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken dismissed the Kremlin’s talking points, noting that food, fertilizer and seeds are not subject to U.S. sanctions.

Ms Jean-Pierre said the solution to the crisis was in Russia’s hands.

“It’s on them,” she said. “Russia should immediately stop the war against Ukraine, which undermines food security, and allow the free flow of Ukrainian food.”

This article is based in part on the Cable Services report.

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