Ukraine’s Zelenskky says Russia blackmails world with food access

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that no one has the right to destroy the food security of any nation and the world has an opportunity to show Russia that it does not allow blackmail.

Describing the need to be protected from “Russian madness” following Moscow’s withdrawal from the Black Sea grain deal on Monday, Zelenskyy said the export of grain from Ukraine’s seaports should continue – with or without Russia’s participation.Ukraine’s exports provided food security for 400 million people, Zelenskyy said, and Russia cannot be allowed to hold such a vital supply ransom to its whims.

“If a bunch of people somewhere in the Kremlin think that they supposedly have the right to decide whether food will be on the table in different countries: Egypt or Sudan, Yemen or Bangladesh, China or India, Türkiye or Indonesia… then the world has an opportunity to show that blackmail is not allowed to anyone,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly address.

“Everyone has a right to stability… Africa has the right to stability. Asia has the right to stability. Europe has every right to stability. And therefore, we must all care about security – about protection from Russian madness,” he said.

“The Black Sea Grain Initiative can and should keep operating – if without Russia, then without Russia,” Zelenskyy added.Ukraine, along with the United Nations and Turkey, which brokered the original deal with Russia, can jointly continue “the operation of the food corridor and the inspection of vessels”, the Ukrainian leader said.There was widespread condemnation and outcry over Russia’s decision on Monday to end its participation in the deal, which allowed the export of Ukrainian grain from the country’s Black Sea ports. The agreement had helped ensure the price stability of vital global commodities such as wheat.

The year-old agreement, which officially expired at 21:00 GMT on Monday, was “a lifeline for global food security and a beacon of hope in a troubled world”, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in New York.

Guterres said he was “deeply disappointed” that a letter he sent to Russian President Vladimir Putin last week with proposals to save the agreement went unheeded.

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