The United States’ ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said on Friday that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine would leave 40 million people food insecure and that sub-Saharan Africa would suffer the most.
The United States secured $4.5 billion for food security at the G7 summit, of which it contributed $2.76 billion.
Pending congressional approval, the US also plans to allocate $150 million in new humanitarian aid to Africa, she added.
African governments have largely avoided taking sides in the European conflict and have refused to join Western condemnation and sanctions.
Africans “don’t want to be pressured to pick a side” in a repeat of the Cold War, but “you need to know the facts,” Thomas-Greenfield said.
While energy, climate change, pandemics and conflicts are the root causes of global food supply problems, “the most insidious source” is hunger, which is deliberately used as a weapon of war, she said.
“Russia has systematically seized some of the most productive agricultural land in Ukraine, ruining the fields with mines and bombs,” Thomas-Greenfield said.
“Regardless of how you feel about Russia, we all have a strong interest in mitigating the effects of the war in Ukraine on food security,” she added.
French President Emmanuel Macron used similar language last week when he described the global food crisis as one of Russia’s “weapons of war” during a visit to Cameroon.
Moscow denies responsibility for the food crisis and has blamed Western sanctions for slowing food and fertilizer exports.
Thomas-Greenfield on Friday denied the claim, instead suggesting that Russia had deliberately taken steps to disrupt global food supply chains, pinning the blame on the West.
“We don’t see any signs that Russia will make a diplomatic solution” to the war in Ukraine, she said.