Railway Freight Train. Volgograd, Spartanovka Station, Russia, May 2023

Antony Blinken, the U.S. Secretary of State and top war hawk in Washington, accused Moscow of weaponizing food by carrying out military strikes on Black Sea ports to blackmail countries to capitulate to its demands in Ukraine. 

Last month, Moscow ended the UN-brokered Black Sea Grain Initiative that allowed Ukraine to export grain and oilseeds after Kyiv’s decision to strike targets inside Russia. The Russian Foreign Ministry said countries made it impossible to continue with the program after its top agricultural bank was frozen out of SWIFT, the international payments system.

“Enough using the Black Sea as blackmail,” Blinken told the UN Security Council in New York on Thursday, according to The New York Times. “Enough treating the world’s most vulnerable people as leverage. Enough of this unjustified unconscionable war.” (See “U.K.’S MILITARY CHIEF USES MOSCOW’S ATTACK ON GRAIN STORAGE AS REASON WEST CANNOT RELENT IN ITS SUPPORT FOR UKRAINE” 25 Jul 2023.)

The U.S. presented a statement that was signed by 91 countries condemning Russia for starving civilians as a war tactic. The paper noted that key countries like China, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, India, Kenya, and Iran, refused to sign on. These countries have not taken part in the sanction war against Russia and have called for a peaceful resolution to the conflict. 

The report said the statement did not mention Russia by name, which made it possible to even release the statement because Russia is a “veto-holding permanent member” of the council.

TRENDPOST: Dmitry Polyanskiy, Russia’s deputy ambassador to the UN, told reporters last week that Russia is ready to help address food instability and rejoin the initiative and blasted the U.S. of hypocrisy after single-handedly causing food instability in Afghanistan and war-torn countries in Africa.  

Blinken conveniently left out the fact that Rosselkhozbank, the Russian Agricultural Bank, was barred from SWIFT.

Maria Zakharova, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said Western capitals and the U.N. tried to present the direct channel established between Rosselkhozbank and American JPMorgan “as an alternative to [the SWIFT system], but even this channel was cut off on August 2,” according to Politico.

She urged countries to “resolve the system-related hurdles,” reconnect Rosselkhozbank to SWIFT, re-establish transport logistics and insurance coverage, and restore Russian companies’ access to their foreign assets.

Only then will it “be possible to consider the resumption of the Black Sea Initiative with the announced humanitarian goals,” she said in the statement.

James O’Brien, the top U.S. State Department sanctions official, told VOA News that Russia needed to be clear about what it was asking for. He said Russia is exporting record amounts of grain. (See “EU ANNOUNCES NEW SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA THAT WILL ONLY HURT EUROPEANS” 27 Jun 2023, “TOP TREND ‘SELF-SUFFICIENCY’: PUTIN SAYS WESTERN SANCTIONS FAILED. TAKES SHOT AT ZELENSKY” 20 Jun 2023, and “MORE SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA, MORE GERMAN GAS SHORTAGES”25 Apr 2023.)

“So if the measurement is food for the globe … Russia’s complaints amount to minor allegations about a system that is working very well,” he said.

TREND FORECAST: American support for the Ukraine War is failing so it is important for Washington to keep the public interested in hating Russia and blaming them for grain cutoffs. However, being that the average American doesn’t care or know about economic conditions throughout Africa and have no idea what this grain deal is all about, the U.S. will come up with new strategies to unite the people in their hatred of Russia and to keep fighting the Ukraine War.

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