Putin slams West’s ‘predatory’ food ‘swindle’
“Predatory” monetary and trade policies pursued by the US-led west are the primary cause of the global food crisis, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.
Western nations are using their wealth and ability to print money to vacuum up food products from the global market, the Russian leader insisted during a government meeting on Tuesday. The unfolding crisis has been in the making for several years, he added.
“Some leading nations have financial and food policies that led to the result we are observing now,” Putin said, adding that the behavior could be described as “predatory, without any exaggeration.”
He noted that the US was a net exporter of food products last year, but now it is a net importer.
The Russian leader also reiterated his criticism of the Ukraine grain deal, which allowed Kiev to export food via the Black Sea. The arrangement was mediated by the UN and Türkiye, but Russia believes it is not working as intended, arguing that the shipments do little to alleviate food shortages in needy nations.
Putin cited last week’s maritime traffic statistics in relation to the scheme, pointing out that most of the ships carrying Ukrainian grain that didn’t report Türkiye as their destination went to one of the EU nations.
“Are they the poorest nations or what? The situation remains the same. Embarrassing as it sounds, but this is plain swindle, and nothing else,” he said.
Russia is set to harvest a record amount of grain this year, which is predicted to reach 150 million tons, including some 100 million tons of wheat, Putin said. But Russian food products have a difficult time finding their way to the global market due to Western economic sanctions, as do Russian fertilizers, he added. The West “is causing the global food crisis,” he claimed.
The US and its allies deny that the restrictions they have imposed on Russian trade over the country’s military campaign in Ukraine are targeting its food and fertilizer exports.
Officials in Moscow say that, while those products are technically not banned, restrictions on things like insurance and port services for Russian merchant ships effectively curb the country’s ability to export food and fertilizers.