Famine will force lifting of sanctions on Russia says propagandist
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In a frightening message to western leaders, Kremlin propagandist Margarita Simonyan said they will sooner or later lift sanctions on Russia to end Vladimir Putin’s famine threat. Russia’s President Putin has blocked Ukraine’s seaports in a bid to strangle Ukraine’s economy and block food supply exports. As a result, up to 44 million people worldwide could face starvation, according to the World Food Programme. Some experts go as far as saying Putin is using the Russian-led blockade as a tool to create famine in North African and Middle Eastern countries and spur migration to European countries in an attempt to destabilise the West.
Russian propagandist Margarita Simonyan argued it is just a matter of time before Western leaders cave in and concede to Putin’s demand of lifting sanctions.
During the Petersburg Economic Forum, she said: “To build on the idea ‘people want to eat’, you know, there’s a very cynical joke that appeared, not even a joke, just an outcry, in Moscow. I’ve heard it several times from different people.
“It goes like: ‘All our hope is in the famine.’ Here is what it means. It means that the famine will start now, and they will lift the sanctions and be friends with us because they will realise it is unnecessary.”
The EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell condemned Putin’s famine threat as a “deliberate attempt to create hunger in the world in order to put pressure … on the EU [to lift sanctions].”
Russia’s conscious political choice is to “weaponise” grain exports and “use them as a tool for blackmail against anyone [who] opposes its aggression’ in Ukraine,” Mr Borrell said.
Addressing Putin directly, Josep Borrell added: “This is a real war crime. If you are using hunger as a weapon of war — this has a name.
He also pushed back on Russian accusations that EU sanctions are fuelling the food crisis.
Mr Borrell added: “The sanctions imposed by the EU “do not prohibit Russia to export any agricultural goods, payment for such Russian exports or the provision of seeds, provided that sanctioned individuals or entities are not involved”.
Other analysts say Putin’s weaponization of the food crisis is meant to extract concessions from Ukraine on the negotiating table to settle peace.
Senior analyst at the Australian Strategic Policy Institute Dr Malcolm Davis tweeted: “Putin is weaponising food with the aim of using the threat of famine to coerce western states into pressuring Ukraine into a settlement on Moscow’s terms.”
In another act of intimidation, Putin said during the St Petersburg International Economic Forum that “famine in the poorest countries will be on the consciences of the US administration and the Eurocrats.”
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Western leaders like Josep Borrell have since tried to counter the narrative, asserting “the problem comes from the Russian blockade of Ukrainian grain.”
The war of narratives comes as battles are raging in the key eastern city of Severodonetsk in the Donbas region where Putin has set his eyes after a humiliating defeat in the north and west of the country in the first phase of the war.
According to the Luhansk military head, “most of the city is under control [of Russian army]. Now the Ukrainian military controls only the industrial zone and the territory of the Azot plant.”
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