By Sharleen Mohammed
RUSSIA has denied claims by its Western rivals it is responsible for the escalating global food crisis because of its military operation in Ukraine.
In a statement, the Russian ambassador to Zimbabwe and Malawi, Nikolai Krasilnikov, said the crisis already existed before the war started.
He said the food crisis was caused by Covid-19 challenges.
“Food prices started rising in mid-2020, a steady trend of at least two years due to rising prices on raw material and transportation services owing to coronavirus and not the two months of this year,” said Krasilnikov.
“Western measures of economic coercion against Russia exacerbated already existing negative trends in the global food market, energy and industry. Payment restrictions and logistical difficulties affected all economic operators, including agricultural companies which faced difficulties with regard to financial and transport services,” Krasilnikov added.
The diplomat the lifting of sanctions can downgrade the current tensions, ensure smooth deliveries and facilitate stability of the global agriculture, energy and financial markets.
“The Russian federation, a responsible participant of the global food market, intends to continue to fulfil its obligations in terms of export deliveries of agricultural products, fertilisers, energy and other vital products,” he said.