Ukrainian envoy addresses Arab League, weeks after Russian minister
Ukraine’s special envoy for the Middle East on Thursday accused Moscow of blocking deliveries of Ukrainian wheat to the region, speaking to the Arab League just weeks after the group hosted the Russian business minister foreign.
“Ukraine today has 20 million tons of grain ready for export, mainly to Arab and African states,” Maksym Subkh told the pan-Arab bloc via video conference, saying “the siege of our ports by Russian invaders ” had blocked deliveries.
Rising global food prices are “a direct result of Russian aggression”, he added.
The war in Ukraine has severely hampered the country’s grain supply, leading to an international food crisis, as it is one of the largest producers in the world.
Some ships have been able to leave Ukrainian ports in recent days after an agreement with Russia brokered by the United Nations and Turkey.
Several Arab League members are heavily dependent on wheat imports from Russia and Ukraine and have been reeling from food insecurity since its neighbor Moscow invaded.
But while the United States has sought to isolate Russia on the world stage during the war, it has met with less success in the Arab world, where many countries are reluctant to strain relations with Moscow.
At the end of July, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov hailed the “balanced, fair and responsible position” of the Arab countries and the League by not taking sides either with Russia or Ukraine.
Lavrov said then that Western sanctions against Moscow had “worsened” the global food crisis, but Subkh on Thursday called the measures “the only way to bring Russia to its senses.”
Subkh warned Arab countries against “Russian interference in regional affairs”, accusing Moscow of sending mercenaries to the region in order to plan “coups” and “loot the wealth of these countries”. .
He told the Arab League that his own appointment last month was “proof that Ukraine prioritizes its political dialogue with Arab states”.
Moscow ally Damascus, which was suspended from the pan-Arab bloc after the outbreak of civil conflict in Syria in 2011, said in July it was cutting ties with Ukraine to back Russia, saying the move was a response to a similar decision from Kyiv. .
Subkh said on Thursday that Syria had tried to “legitimize Russia’s illegal occupation of Ukraine”.
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