Russia lashes out at West for grain, gas crises

Photo Credit: Associated Press (AP)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov lashed out at the West for creating a grains supply chain crisis by slapping unjustified sanctions on Moscow.

Lavrov on Wednesday briefed resident diplomats on current developments related to the Russia-Ukraine conflict in a well-attended event at the Russian Embassy in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital.

The Russian foreign minister’s visit to Ethiopia came as the last leg of his four-nation African tour that also included Egypt, the Republic of the Congo, and Uganda.

“I know that the Western media presents the situation in a totally distorted manner,” Lavrov claimed, adding that the problems in the world food markets started at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.“

He said that in order to fight the virus and its consequences, the US, EU and Japan pumped $8 trillion in the world economy without economic substantiation.

That, according to Lavrov, caused fertilizer prices to go up because of “…the reckless policy of the Western countries on so-called green transition,” affecting in turn food prices.

“Of course, the situation in Ukraine has a negative impact on food markets, but not because of Russia’s special military operation,” he said.

“The latest attempt by our Turkish friends and the UN secretary-general resulted in a deal between Russia and the UN whereby Secretary-General Guterres committed himself to press the Western countries to lift the restrictions (on Russian ships to and from ports),” he added.

“And the deal (signed in Istanbul) provided for the obligation of Ukraine to de-mine its coastal line for the ships (70 ships since February) that have been blocked there out of Ukrainian territorial waters, after which the Russian and Turkish fleets will ensure the safe travel of the ships to the Mediterranean. We will see if he can succeed,” he said.

“The West created a system based on certain principles (such as) free market, fair competition, the sanctity of private property, the presumption of innocence … but all these principles were thrown down the drain when they needed to do what they believed was to punish Russia,” he said.

Claiming that the war with Ukraine was caused by NATO’s eastward expansion that “has been happening for at least 10 years” and was threatening Russian borders owing to the West’s “Russophobic policies,” Lavrov said there would be more victims.

“I don’t have the slightest doubt that, if need be, they will not hesitate to do the same in relation to any other country that would irritate them in one way or another,” the Russian foreign minister said.

China, which, Lavros said, has developed the world’s number one economy will be the next target because it “…defeated the West on their own turf.”

“China achieved the results by following the rules established by the West,” he explained, adding that the West now is looking for ways to reform the IMF, World Bank, and World Trade Organization.

In response to the situation in Ukraine, Lavrov stated that “the West launched an unprecedented campaign of sanctions, accusations, and threats against Russia” – a threat that other countries would face for “not condemning Russia.”

“NATO members led by the United States opted to decide for us,” he said, describing the increasingly unipolar global order as unacceptable.

“They told us … the relation between NATO and Ukraine is none of your business … and that was the end of it.”

Responding to a question by an Algerian diplomat about the future of global gas supply, Lavrov said European countries have “choked themselves” of cheap and dependable supplies from Russia and are now looking for alternative means, and would be approaching natural gas-producing African countries like Algeria to supply them with the energy resource.

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