Biden: ‘It’s Russia’s War That Is Worsening Food Insecurity, and Only Russia Can End It’

By Melanie Arter | September 21, 2022 | 3:09pm EDT
 President Joe Biden addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York City on September 21, 2022. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)
President Joe Biden addresses the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN headquarters in New York City on September 21, 2022. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - Despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claims to the contrary, U.S. sanctions allow for Russia to export food and fertilizer without limitation, so it’s the war with Ukraine that is worsening food insecurity, President Biden told the UN General Assembly on Wednesday.

The president said that the United States is taking on the food crisis head on as 193 million people worldwide experience “acute food insecurity” - an increase of 40 million a year. He announced “another $2.9 billion in U.S. support for lifesaving humanitarian and food security assistance for this year alone.”

Russia, in the meantime, is pumping out lies, trying to pin the blame for the crisis — the food crisis — onto sanctions imposed by many in the world for the aggression against Ukraine. 

So let me be perfectly clear about something: Our sanctions explicitly allow — explicitly allow Russia the ability to export food and fertilizer. No limitation. It’s Russia’s war that is worsening food insecurity, and only Russia can end it.

I’m grateful for the work here at the U.N. — including your leadership, Mr. Secretary-General — establishing a mechanism to export grain from Black Sea ports in Ukraine that Russia had blocked for months, and we need to make sure it’s extended.

We believe strongly in the need to feed the world. That’s why the United States is the world’s largest supporter of the World Food Programme, with more than 40 percent of its budget.

We’re leading support — we’re leading support of the UNICEF efforts to feed children around the world, and to take on the larger challenge of food insecurity, the United States introduced a Call to Action: a roadmap eliminating global food insecurity — to eliminating global food insecurity that more than 100 nation member states have already supported.

In June, the G7 announced more than $4.5 billion to strengthen food security around the world. 

Through USAID’s Feed the Future initiative, the United States is scaling up innovative ways to get drought- and heat-resistant seeds into the hands of farmers who need them, while distributing fertilizer and improving fertilizer efficiency so that farmers can grow more while using less.

And we’re calling on all countries to refrain from banning food exports or hoarding grain while so many people are suffering. Because in every country in the world, no matter what else divides us, if parents cannot feed their children, nothing — nothing else matters if parents cannot feed their children.

As we look to the future, we’re working with our partners to update and create rules of the road for new challenges we face in the 21st century.

We launched the Trade and Technology Council with the European Union to ensure that key technologies — key technologies are developed and governed in the way that benefits everyone. 

With our partner countries and through the U.N., we’re supporting and strengthening the norms of responsibility — responsible state behavior in cyberspace and working to hold accountable those who use cyberattacks to threaten international peace and security. 

With partners in the Americas, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, and the Indo-Pacific, we’re working to build a new economic ecosystem while — where every nation — every nation gets a fair shot and economic growth is resilient, sustainable, and shared.

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