WFP cannot verify US allegations of 'Russia stealing Ukraine grain'
The World Food Programme cannot confirm the US allegations in which Washington accused Moscow of stealing grain from Ukraine and selling it for its own profit.
The World Food Programme has failed to verify allegations of Russia "stealing" Ukrainian grain, UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said Tuesday.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, citing "credible reports," said Monday that Russia had been pilfering Ukraine's grain exports to sell for its own profit, but Moscow swiftly dismissed Washington's claims.
"We've seen [recent media reports], are talking to our colleagues at the WFP, they have no way of verifying these allegations, we are advocating for free movement in the Black Sea," Dujarric told a briefing.
This comes after Ukrainian troops set fire to tons of grain in storage facilities in Mariupol hoping to impact food security in the Donetsk People’s Republic.
Recently, wheat and grain exports have become a global concern as many countries have either banned exports or limited and taxed wheat exports, due to national and global food security threats. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), slower growth and faster inflation threaten the global economy in light of the Ukraine war.
Russia, alongside Ukraine, accounts for almost a third of the world's wheat and barley production and half of the global production of sunflower oil, while Ukraine is considered the world's fourth-largest exporter of corn and fifth-largest exporter of wheat, and the UN's program to combat food insecurity purchases roughly half of its wheat from Ukraine each year.
Wheat is the second most-produced grain in the world after corn; now the whole world might face a wheat supply shortage due to the #Ukrainian crisis and the sanctions imposed on #Russia.#Ukraine #RussiaUkraine pic.twitter.com/aNkRuR4cj7— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) March 2, 2022
Several countries and international organizations have been calling for the unblocking of the Ukrainian seaports since the start of the war, with the aim of curtailing the rising food process and delivering crops to regions facing acute food crises as soon as possible.