Russia ranks unfriendly nations
Russian State Duma chairman Vyacheslav Volodin has published on social media a list of “unfriendly nations” ranked by the number of anti-Russian sanctions they have imposed. “They are the ones to be blamed for skyrocketing prices worldwide,” his post on Thursday said.
The list is headed by the US, with 1,983 distinct sanctions placed against Russia, according to Volodin’s count. It is followed by Canada, Switzerland, Britain, the EU as a single entity, Australia and Japan.
“By introducing illegal sanctions against Russia, these states triggered a surge of prices for energy and food.” the Russian official stated. “Those are the primary culprits behind the current troubles and the future crises throughout the world.”
Blaming Russia for the increase in inflation that many nations experience now has become a common theme for many Western nations. The Biden administration coined the term “Putin’s price hike.” But judging by opinion polls, Americans are not particularly willing to buy it and many believe their government should have done more to tackle inflation.
Energy prices were hitting record high levels in Europe before Russia’s offensive against Ukraine. Back then Moscow said Europe could alleviate the surge by inking long-term supply contracts with Russia that would have mechanisms to dampen the spikes in the spot market. It also suggested bringing online the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline as soon as possible to secure the imports. Western sanctions against Russia that are now in place, include the suspension of the project for the foreseeable future and a drive to decouple Europe from Russian energy.
The hostilities in Ukraine also put into question the country’s ability to sow and harvest grains this season. Ukraine is a major exporter of grains, particularly wheat. Together with Russia it accounted for more than a quarter of global wheat supply last year.
The sanctions have also aggravated the Russian and Belarussian chemical industries, including fertilizers.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday that the restrictions on Russian food and fertilizers had to be lifted to avoid a major crisis. Otherwise “tens of millions of people [would tip] over the edge into food insecurity, followed by malnutrition, mass hunger and famine, in a crisis that could last for years,” he warned.
Russia launched an offensive against Ukraine in late February, following Kiev’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols were designed to give the breakaway regions special status within the Ukrainian state.
The Kremlin has since demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.