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G20 meeting: Russia faces international criticism over grain blockade

At a G20 meeting, foreign ministers in Bali, Indonesia, who are some of the staunchest critics of the Russian invasion, confronted the Kremlin’s top diplomat Sergei Lavrov regarding the issue of grain shipments from Ukraine via ports blockaded by Russia.

Ukraine – a top exporter of grain – has warned that countries in Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere will face devastating food shortages if supplies do not reach them.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Moscow to let Ukrainian grain go out to the world. He addressed Russia directly, saying that Ukraine does not belong to them, nor does the grain.

G20 host Indonesia, urged the group’s foreign ministers to help bring an end to the war in Ukraine, while Lavrov berated the West saying that rather than focusing on how to tackle global economic problems at the meeting, ministers had embarked on “frenzied criticism” of Russia over the Ukraine conflict.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, in a virtual address to the meeting, said the international community should not allow Russia to blackmail the world with high energy prices, hunger and security threats. He accused Russia of playing “hunger games” saying it has “no place at any international forum.”

Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi stated after the talks that the gathering in Bali was dominated by the topic of the war and its impact on food security and energy, which was discussed in nearly all of the bilateral meetings.

The meeting’s host, Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi, noted how the repercussions of the war, which have included rising energy and food prices, would hit poor countries the hardest and that it is critical to reintegrate Ukraine and Russia’s grain and fertilizer back into the supply chains.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, gave a remote address to Slovenia’s parliament, where he explained that food shortages would lead to increased migration to Europe in what he saw as part of a Russian plan to destabilise the continent.

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