Russian Ambassador Antonov on food crisis

Brussels 28.05.2022 Russian ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov on Friday, May 28, said the food crisis, which had been unfolding for the past couple years, worsened due sanctions on Russia by the U.S. and its allies.

“The crisis was further exacerbated due to the introduction by Washington and its satellites of illegitimate sanctions against Russia,” the diplomat said in statement released by the Russian Embassy in Washington. “Despite the references of the U.S. officials to exemptions from the restrictions, which allegedly provide for the opportunity for our country to trade in farm goods, domestic exporters often don’t have a chance to make shipments.”

“They face blocked payments, denials of loans and insurance, problems with booking freight ships, purchase of farm equipment and even seeds,” he went on to say. “In addition, the US continues to increase import taxes on our fertilizers.”

Antonov described such actions as “the utmost hypocrisy” and called the US attempts to blame Russia for the food crisis as absolutely unfounded.

“We urge a halt to shifting the blame,” he continued. “Russia is committed to its export obligations and is ready for negotiations to resolve this most serious problem, including through the UN.”

The diplomat also said that difficulties in the food market have been building up for a long time, at least over the past two years. “They are associated with miscalculations and systemic errors in the macroeconomic policy – primarily financial and foreign trade policies – and energy and food policies of Western countries,” he said. “At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to significant disruptions of supply chains.”

“Freight costs have almost doubled,” he continued. “Naturally, all this couldn’t not fail but lead to a sharp increase in food prices. Wheat prices increased by a quarter over 2021.”

The Wall Street Journal earlier reported that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is negotiating with Russia and Ukraine to unblock the export of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea in exchange for the lifting of a number of sanctions that hinder the export of Russian fertilizers. Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the UN Vasily Nebenzya and Permanent Representative of the United States Linda Thomas-Greenfield confirmed that there are talks on resuming the exports of Ukrainian grain and Russian fertilizers to the global market. However, the sides insists that these issues are discussed separately from each other and don’t assume any exchanges.

EU: VI Russia sanctions package blocked

Brussels 18.05.2022 The sixth package of EU sanctions against Russia has been blocked, European Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni said on Wednesday, May 18, in an interview to Rai News 24 TV channel.

“We adopted five packages of sanctions very quickly and unanimously, but the sixth package is still held off for known reasons. I am optimistic about the prospects for finding a compromise,” Gentiloni said.

The Commissioner explained that the Hungarian government does not object to the principle of introducing an energy embargo, but pointed to the difficulties in terms of a certain geographical location and energy supply model.

The permanent representatives of the EU countries (Coreper) have been not able reach an agreement on the sixth package of sanctions against Russia, which includes a draft oil embargo – the European Commission has proposed a ban on imports of crude oil from Russia six months after the sixth package enters into force, and on oil products – from 2023. At the same time, the European Commission proposed to allow Hungary and Slovakia to purchase Russian oil until the end of 2024 in an exemption gesture.

According to sources, the European Commission already had to soften a number of its proposals on the timing, parameters, and possible exceptions to the oil embargo. Hungary opposes the oil embargo, with the support of a number of other countries who believe that the damage from the measure will be catastrophic for Europe.

Lavrov deplores West “total war” on Russia

Brussels 25.03.2022 Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia is facing a total war declared by the West.

Lavrov said at a meeting on Friday, March 22, that “a real hybrid war, total war was declared on us.” He added the goal was “to destroy, break, annihilate, strangle the Russian economy, and Russia on the whole.”

During the first month of what Russia describes as a “special military operation” in Ukraine, the West imposed a range of measures targeting Russia’s economy and financial system as well as President Vladimir Putin and Russian oligarchs individually.

Despite that, top diplomat insisted that as a result of this multitude of efforts Russia was not isolated.

“We have many friends, allies, partners in the world, a huge number of associations in which Russia is working with countries of all continents, and we will continue to do so,” Lavrov continued. The Minister is convinced that the vast majority of states won’t join the Western sanctions policy against Russia.

Crimea: EU non-recognition policy

Brussels 15.10.2021 The EU condemns the decision of the Russian Federation to conduct a population census in the “illegally annexed Ukrainian territory of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol” from 15 October until 14 November, and the launching of yet another conscription campaign on 1 October.

“These actions are an attempt to legitimise the illegal annexation of Crimea and further undermine the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognised borders”.(Tweet below: new road infrastructure).

The European Union calls on Russia to stop all violations of international law and international humanitarian law on the Crimean peninsula. The European Union will continue to work for a peaceful end of Russia’s “illegal annexation of the peninsula”, as reiterated at the first summit of the International Crimean Platform on 23 August. The European Union will continue and to enforce its non-recognition policy.

Moscow reacts with reserve on Washington sanctions

The signing of a law on tougher US sanctions against Russia, North Korea and Iran by President Trump does not change anything de facto in the current situation, the Russian President’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov said, according to Russian TASS news agency.

“The very fact of signing the law doesn’t change anything,” he said when a reporter asked him about the impact of the sanctions and a possibility of retaliation from Russia.

“What kind of measures?” Peskov went on. “No new steps. Retaliatory measures have already been taken.”

 

EU foreign policy drama

migrants-bodies-on-coast

With flows of migrants from Libyan cost, the EU Southern Neighbourhood, ravaged by Islamic terrorists, and the defrozen conflict in the EU Eastern Neighbourhood with tanks moving along the vicinities in Donetsk, the EU foreign affairs Council, 6.2.2017,  finds itself in the worst situation in years, if not in decades, since the Balkan war.

Both problems have one element in common: the active involvement of the EU in shaping of the future of the neighbouring countries. The zeal of the implementation of the Neighbourhood policy in Ukraine led to the break of pro-European and pro-Russian populations, while the overthrowing of the Libyan ‘tyrant’ caused a turmoil on a half of the African continent.
Due to the EU efforts Libya from a donor became an acceptor, requesting funds to keep the flows of migrants on its coasts. 200 000 euro of taxpayers money were pledged to UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA), while the destiny of Colonel Gaddafi’s fortune of 200 000 billion, as reported shortly before his assassination, remains obscure. However,  even if donated as agreed the major question remains if there are structures and institutions able of the implementation of the programme to improve the conditions of migrants, and fight against the smugglers.
GNA hardly controls Tripoli, where recently an explosion next to Italian reopened Embassy brought into focus grave security concerns for corps diplomatique, already shuttered by the tragic death of US Ambassador Stevens.
The EU mission on its page still calls it an ‘exiting’ time:
“It is an exciting time to be in Libya as the country is seeking its path towards democracy and stability. Just over two years ago (! -av), the Libyan people showed to the world that popular will could prevail over a ruthless dictatorship. For their courage and determination, Libyans gained the admiration of the whole world”, – although unlike Italians they prefer to watch if from the safe distance of ‘Prestige Business Center Bloc’ in Tunis.
Obviously impossible to compare ravaged by jihadists Libya with the  ‘Anti-terrorist operation’ (ATO) of President Poroshenko in Ukraine, the latest active fighting at the front line in Avdeevka, next to Donetsk endangered Minsk agreements, showing the fragility of the situation there and a huge ambition of Kiev’s leadership to conclude ATO, even at cost of the devastation of once wealthy industrial region of coal-mining.
Till present on contrary to the EU expectations the prolonged restrictive measures against Russia have not delivered an expected result to force Kremlin to abandon its support to two self-proclaimed Republics of Lugansk and Donetsk.
However the sanctions have an effect of the European agricultural sector and business, suffering losses as the result of this policy: the rise of the anti-EU forces in old member states is too obvious to ignore even for myopic bureaucrats of the European external action service, risking to lose their jobs soon, while the European nations demand referendums on EU membership from their governments, profoundly unsatisfied with the impact of  EU foreign policies on their lives.