Zelenski seeks support from African countries
After the end of the grain deal, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is trying to get Africa on his country’s side in the conflict with Russia. He gave an interview to a number of African media, Zelensky said in his daily video address on Tuesday. “We talked (…) in particular about the grain export situation and Russian aggression against global food stability,” he said. The Russian war of aggression against Ukraine is less harshly criticized in Africa than in western industrial nations.
The agreement brokered by the United Nations and Turkey to export Ukrainian grain across the Black Sea ended a naval blockade by Russia that had lasted several months after the start of the war. Since the start of the agreement, which has been extended several times, last summer, almost 33 million tons of grain have been shipped from Ukraine.
However, Russia has repeatedly expressed its dissatisfaction with the implementation of the agreement. According to the Kremlin, promises made to Moscow to facilitate its food and fertilizer exports have not been kept. In the end, Russia did not extend the agreement with this justification, so that it expired on Monday.
African states are not taking part in the sanctions against Russia. At the same time, the naval blockade of Ukrainian ports resumed by Moscow has direct consequences for the continent. Ukraine is a major grain exporter. Food prices could rise as a result of the grain deal halt, raising fears of a hunger crisis in the poorest countries.
“A price explosion would inevitably lead to political and migration crises, especially in African and Asian countries. Obviously, the Russian leadership is now trying to provoke these crises,” Zelenskiy emphasized again in his video address.