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Russia criticises UN chief for calling proposal to supply grain to Africa 'handful of donations'

August 2, 2023 at 5:43 pm

Spokeswoman for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Maria Zakharova on December 3, 2020 [RUSSIAN FOREIGN AFFAIRS MINISTRY/Anadolu Agency]

Russia, on Wednesday, criticised UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, for calling its initiative to supply African countries grain free of charge “handful of donations”, Anadolu Agency reports.

Speaking at a news conference in Moscow, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, urged Guterres to ask the recipients how they evaluate this very “handful of donations” and what they want.

“By recipients, I mean the countries to which humanitarian aid is intended. Can we give them a word? Maybe the Secretary-General should ask them before going to the cameras and making such statements? What do they think, maybe it’s really extremely important for them?” she said.

The spokeswoman added that African representatives applauded Russian President, Vladimir Putin, when he made the announcement at the second Russia-Africa summit in St. Petersburg last week.

She urged Guterres to be more careful in expressions when it comes to humanitarian actions, adding: “He needs to understand that such a high position obliges.”

READ: Africa leaders press Putin to end Ukraine war and restore grain supplies

“Everything that threatens world food security is connected with the collective actions of Western countries,” she said.

Putin has promised free grain supplies to six African nations after the collapse of the Black Sea grain deal.

Saudi Arabia meetings ‘attempt to put together anti-Russian cooperation’

Zakharova called the forthcoming meeting on the Ukrainian “peace formula” in Saudi Arabia “a deception”, saying it was initiated by Kyiv and Western countries “to promote (Ukrainian President Volodymyr) Zelenskyy’s formula.”

“This is not a scientific and practical conference or a meeting of diplomats to work out political solutions, this is an attempt to take advantage of the sincere intentions of a number of states in order to put together an anti-Russian coalition,” she stressed.

As for statements about the beginning of negotiations on Washington’s provision of security guarantees to Kyiv, Zakharova said their purpose is “to find beautiful, political formulations” for the essence that remains the same – to keep Ukraine as “a tool of the anti-Russian hybrid war that was unleashed by the West.”

“The second goal is the preservation of Ukrainian territory as a springboard in the truest sense of the word,” the diplomat said.

Zakharova warned that Ukraine’s accession to NATO, or the provision of any security guarantees to it, will lead to uncontrollable consequences.

READ: ‘Handful of donations’ from Russia is not the same as Black Sea grain deal