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Global Times: It Is Not Russia Who ‘Weaponizes’ Food

China’s state media Global Times published an opinion article by Zheng Fengtian, the director of the Rural Development Institute of Renmin University of China, stating that it is not Russia who weaponizes food.

The article said, “Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with the media that the West is trying to ‘shift’ the responsibility for problems in the world’s grain market to Russia. Ukraine, however, has multiple food transportation channels to choose from. Also, Russia will not stop Ukraine’s grain shipments from being shipped out. At the same time, he also announced that Russia’s wheat exports in the next agricultural year will increase to 50 million tons.”

The article continued, “Following its strategic needs, the United States and the West put the responsibility for this global food crisis on Russia and use a number of means to put pressure on Russia to release food. Putin, however, retorted when he had a phone conversation with Italian Prime Minister Draghi. He said, ‘It is groundless for the West to blame Russia for the supply of agricultural products in the international market.’ Putin attributed the current crisis to the sanctions that the United States and the West imposed on Russia. It is the anti-Russian restrictions imposed by the US and the EU that make the situation worse. Indeed, it is precisely because of these economic sanctions that the global food supply chain has been disrupted and food prices have soared. Instead of providing a viable solution, the United States and its allies are currently escalating conflicts by increasingly providing  new weapons and equipment, which will only increase future global food security risks.

“When the Russian side expressed its willingness to provide 50 million tons of grain to ‘help overcome the food crisis,’ the United States and the West accused it of ‘blackmail’ because the Russian side proposed that ‘sanctions against Moscow should be lifted.’ A U.S. Pentagon spokesman said Russia weaponized food. In fact, ‘weaponizing food’ is a common practice of the United States. It is precisely because the United States has used grain as a “weapon” many times that grain has become a main source of the problem in the current global trade. Even the developed countries dare not freely hand over grains to the international market.

“On the one hand, the United States continues to add fuel to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and intensifies sanctions against Russia. On the other hand, the United States has made arrangements in its own country ahead of schedule to grab Russia’s share of the world’s food market. According to reports, U.S. President Biden has increased the number of counties eligible for “double crop insurance” nationwide by 681 to 1,935, and the federal government’s investment in domestic fertilizer production has increased from $250 million to $500 million, to stimulate fully the export of American agricultural products and increase the external dependence on American food. It seems that the real intention of the United States is to expand its hegemonic advantages to the field of food security.”

Source: Global Times, June 6, 2022