Russia Wants 'Artificial Famine,' Zelensky Tells Ukraine

With grain blockade resumed, president says G-20 should evict Russia
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 30, 2022 12:55 PM CDT
Zelenskyy Calls for Evicting Russia From G-20 Nations
The ship Navi-Star sits full of grain as it waits to sail from the Odesa Sea Port in Ukraine on July 29.   (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

President Volodymyr Zelensky told Ukrainians that Russia, which reinstated its blockade of grain shipments on Sunday, is creating "conditions of artificial famine" and should be kicked out of the G-20 group of nations. "How can Russia be among the G-20 if it is deliberately working for starvation on several continents?" Zelenskyy said in a televised address, NBC News reports. He said Russia wants millions of people in Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia to endure famine conditions, or "at least at least a severe price crisis." Russia, in turn, blamed a drone attack and the collapse of the grain deal on Ukrainians, as aided by the UK. "They need more deaths," a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman wrote Sunday on Telegram. "The Kyiv regime rests on this hellish throne: money, weapons, death."

Russia also said Sunday that it had recovered wreckage from a drone strike that it said proves British forces helped the Ukrainians, per the Wall Street Journal. The UK has denied any involvement. France was among the nations to say Russia is trying to divert the focus from its "war of aggression" against Ukraine. Analysts agreed Russia is trying to use the grain agreement as leverage. "By leaving the deal now and putting the blame on Ukraine, it aims to slow Ukrainian attacks around the Black Sea," said Mario Bikarski, Europe's analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit. One goal could be for the Western allies to push Ukraine to concentrate its attacks elsewhere to save the blockade agreement, he said. Ukraine pressed its offensive Sunday in southern areas held by Russia.

President Biden called Russia's withdrawal outrageous. "There’s no merit to what they're doing," he said Saturday, per the AP. "The UN negotiated that deal, and that should be the end of it." A ship with 40,000 tons of grain intended for Ethiopia under the UN program could not leave port on Sunday, a Ukrainian official posted on Twitter. "Why is it that a handful of people somewhere in the Kremlin can decide whether there will be food on the tables of people in Egypt or Bangladesh?" Zelensky said in his address. (Read more Russia-Ukraine war stories.)

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