Russia has yet again been humiliated on the international stage during a UN Security Council meeting. Russian envoy to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzya walked out of the UN meeting after the European Council’s president directly accused Russia of causing a global food crisis by stealing Ukraine’s grain and blocking Ukraine from exporting the grain themselves.

European Council President Charles Michel addressed Vasily Nebenzya directly during the meeting that happened last Monday. He did not mince his words and directly stated that Russia was the source of the growing food supply crisis.

“Mr. Ambassador of the Russian Federation, let’s be honest, the Kremlin is using food supplies as a stealth missile against developing countries,” Michel said to Vasily Nebenzya.

“Russia is solely responsible for this food crisis. Russia alone, despite the Kremlin’s campaign of lies and disinformation. I’ve seen it with my own eyes a few weeks ago in Odesa. Millions of tons of grain and wheat stuck in containers and ships because of Russian warships in the Black Sea and because of Russia’s attack on transport infrastructure. And it is Russian tanks, Russian bombs, and mines that are preventing Ukraine from planting and harvesting.”

Michel also accused Russia of targeting grain storage facilities in Ukraine and shifting the blame elsewhere. It is a well-known fact that Ukraine is one of the world’s largest suppliers of wheat and grain. Kyiv accounts for one-tenth of the world’s wheat exports, a product that can be found almost everywhere in the world. It also accounts for 17% of the world’s corn supply. Preventing Ukraine from planting and exporting grain will likely contribute to global food insecurity, as experts suggest.

“This is cowardly, this is propaganda, pure and simple propaganda,” Michel said. “Let’s get to the facts. The EU has no sanctions on the agricultural sector in Russia. Zero. And even our sanctions on the Russian transport sector do not go beyond our EU borders,” he continued.

This indicates that Russia’s agricultural sector has no reason to steal Ukraine’s grain, just that it is definitely tougher to export them to other countries as it had been excluded from the SWIFT payment system, with much of the world adopting Russian sanctions on Russia.

Michel would then go on to invite Russian envoy Nebenzya to leave the room.

“You may leave the room. Maybe it’s easier not to listen to the truth, the ambassador. They do not prevent Russian flight vessels, our sanctions, from carrying gain, food, or fertilizers to developing countries. The EU, on the contrary, is doing all we can to help Ukraine’s agricultural exports and to support Ukraine’s agricultural sector for the coming season.”

The EU Council President would also connect Russia’s attack on Ukraine’s agricultural sector as the driving force of rising prices of food and would push people into poverty, accusing the Kremlin of using the food supply as a “stealth missile” against developing countries that badly need the grain, wheat, and corn.

Russia's Ambassador to the UN Vasily Nebenzya walking out of a UN Security Council meeting after being directly accused by EU Council President Charles Michel of causing the global food crisis (Rustem Umerov). Source:
Russia’s Ambassador to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya, walking out of a UN Security Council meeting after being directly accused by EU Council President Charles Michel of causing the global food crisis (Rustem Umerov/Twitter)

During Michel’s speech, Nebenzya would stand up and walk away from the meeting. The Russian ambassador was visibly frustrated and irritated with Michel’s direct accusations. Later, he would tell Reuters that he “couldn’t stay” because of “the lies that Charles Michel came here to distribute.”

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Russia’s deputy UN ambassador Dimitry Polyansky would react to the EU Council President’s speech, calling it “so rude” that it prompted Nebenzya to walk out.

Ukrainian UN Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya also said that it was committed to finding solutions to the global food crisis but was doubtful Russia would cooperate with world leaders. This comes after the Russians bombed a railway car facility in Kyiv a few days ago, cars that were apparently used to carry Ukrainian grain to ports. More so, Russia had also bombed a series of Ukrainian ports dedicated to grain export, one being a grain export located in Mykolaiv, to further hamper Ukraine’s ability to export food to other countries.

“We continue our work with the UN and partners to ensure the functioning of the maritime rules for the expert for Ukrainian agricultural products,” he said.

“Russia must withdraw its naval forces in the maritime waters around Ukraine and provide security guarantees against attacks in ports,” he added.

Kyslytsya also poked fun at Nebezya’s walk out of the UN meeting, calling it “entertainment” in the chamber that was otherwise filled with “Russian toxicity” and “drooling lies.”

“It means all Putin’s fairy tales about his readiness to facilitate Ukrainian wheat export that he so eloquently tells his rare interlocutors remain too far removed from reality,” the Ukrainian envoy said.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken also accused Russia of planting explosives on captured farmland, making it tremendously dangerous to plow the field, and preventing Ukraine from planting agricultural products.

According to him, Russia was “aggressively using his propaganda machine to deflect or distort responsibility because he hopes it will get the world to give in to him and then the sanctions. In other words, quite simply put: It’s blackmail.”

If Russia does not cooperate with world leaders regarding the export of agricultural products from Ukraine, experts predict that the global food crisis will likely worsen, especially with Africa experiencing a severe drought that has left several countries suffering from starvation.