United States Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said today that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will cause food insecurity for 40 million people and that sub-Saharan Africa will be hardest hit.
The United States secured $4.5 billion for food security at the G7 summit, of which $2.76 billion was its own contribution.
There are also plans by the US to contribute $150 million in new humanitarian development aid to Africa pending congressional approval, he added.
African governments have largely avoided taking sides in the war and have refused to join Western condemnations and sanctions.
Africans “don’t want to be forced to pick sides” in a repeat of the Cold War, but “need to know the facts,” Greenfield said.
While energy, climate change, pandemic and conflict are the root causes of global food supply problems, the “most insidious source” is hunger that is deliberately used as a weapon of war, he said.
“Russia has systematically seized some of Ukraine’s most productive agricultural land, destroying fields with mines and bombs,” the US ambassador to the UN said.
“Regardless of how you feel about Russia, we all have a strong common interest in mitigating the impact of the war in Ukraine on food security,” he added.
During a visit to Cameroon last week, French President Emmanuel Macron used similar language when he described the global food crisis as one of Russia’s “weapons of war”.
Moscow denies responsibility for the food crisis and blames Western sanctions for slowing food and fertilizer exports.
Greenfield today disputed that claim, saying Russia is deliberately taking steps to disrupt global food supply chains while blaming the West.
“We have seen no indication that Russia will accept a diplomatic solution” to the war in Ukraine, he added.