Workers collect freshly baked bread at a bakery amid a food insecurity in Sana’a, Yemen, on Aug. 31. A World Food Programme last month chartered a ship with the first shipment of Ukrainian wheat grain destined for its humanitarian response in war-ravaged Yemen. Photo by Yahya Arhab/EPA-EFE
Sept. 11 (UPI) — The British Defense Ministry on Sunday joined the United States in rejecting a claim from Russian President Vladimir Putin that just a small amount of grain exported from Ukraine has reached developing nations around the world.
Putin claimed Wednesday that just 60,000 tons of grain exported from Ukraine since August has reached countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia and that most went to member states of the European Union after a deal had been reached to safeguard grain shipments amid the war.
“Putin’s claim is not true,” the British Defense Ministry said in a statement.
“Russia is pursuing a deliberate misinformation strategy as it seeks to deflect blame for food insecurity issues, discredit Ukraine and minimize opposition to its invasion.”
Data from the United Nations shows that around 30% of the exports have been supplied to low and middle-income countries worldwide and another 30% went to EU member states after the international organization brokered the deal in July.
The statement from the British Defense Ministry came as the Kremlin released a readout of a call between Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron, in which the two leaders discussed the grain exports.
“When discussing the problems of global food security, the position was confirmed that the grain exported from the Black Sea ports should be directed primarily to the needs of developing countries,” the Kremlin statement reads.
The Kremlin said that “it is extremely important” that the European Commission “does not create obstacles” to the supply of “Russian” agricultural products and fertilizers.
“It was agreed to continue the dialogue on all the issues raised at various, including ministerial, levels,” the Kremlin said.
Jim O’Brien, who heads the U.S. State Department’s Office of Sanctions Coordination, said during a briefing Friday that much of the 20% of grain supplied to Turkey would ultimately reach developing nations.
“From the beginning of August until earlier this week, 2.3 million tons of Ukrainian grain have been exported to global markets. This is food for millions of people or for animals, who will in turn feed millions of people,” O’Brien said.
“Those supplies are part of the positive trend, because over the last several months, really since May, Ukraine has also exported 10 million tons of grain directly into the EU. And this grain goes to animals or goes onward to other places, but it allows the EU to let other grain go to the global markets.”
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