Onions were loaded on the truck. (Image: Getty)

  • Russia is using food as a weapon, partially blocking Ukrainian ports, a US official said.
  • Secretary of State Anthony Blinken made a comment at a UN Security Council meeting on Thursday.
  • Experts warn that cyber attacks on Ukraine’s agricultural technology could exacerbate supply problems.
  • For more information, visit Business Insider.

The United States has accused Russia of contributing to the global food crisis and holding supplies hostage by blocking Ukrainian ports.

“Providing food for millions of Ukrainians and millions of others around the world has literally been held hostage by the Russian military,” said US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken at a UN Security Council meeting on Thursday.

This news was reported by The Guardian and other publications.

Blinken has demanded that Russia end its blockade of Ukraine’s ports to ensure that supplies of vital food and fertilizers can continue.

Warning that food security could be strengthened, he cited figures from the World Food Program and the Food and Agriculture Organization. They found that the number of people affected by food security due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has risen from 100 million in 2020 to about 161 million in 2022.

The conflict in Ukraine has disrupted exports of two key players in world commodity markets, cutting production due to fighting and blocking ports. Russia is the world’s largest exporter of wheat, while Ukraine is a significant exporter of cereals such as wheat and corn, accounting for 12% and 17% of world supplies.

“The Russian government seems to think that using food as a weapon will help achieve what the invasion did not do – break the spirit of the Ukrainian people,” Blinken added at the meeting.

His comments came after experts warned of cyberattacks on smart technologies used in agriculture. This is a growing concern, given that it could worsen the impact of the conflict in Ukraine on the global food supply chain, according to BBC News.

The major American agricultural firm AGCO last week faced an attack on ransomware programs that affected production. In April, cybersecurity agencies from the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand warned of Russian-sponsored attacks that could affect global supply chains.

Earlier on Thursday, former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said the country was ready to allow the flow of food to prevent possible famine in some countries, but expected “help from trading partners, including on international platforms.”

“Otherwise, there is no logic: on the one hand, we are imposing insane sanctions, on the other – require the supply of products,” – said Medvedev in a statement to the Telegram.

“We have every opportunity to ensure that other countries have food, and there were no food crises. Just do not interfere with our work,” he added.

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