Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky blames Russia for Sri Lanka crisis: ‘No one knows now how it'll end'

Published on Jul 14, 2022 07:58 AM IST

Ukraine has accused Russia and its allies of stealing its grain, contributing to a global food shortage caused by grain exports blocked in Ukrainian ports.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks via video at an address.(AP file image)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks via video at an address.(AP file image)

Sri Lanka Crisis: Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday held Russia's “special military operation” in his country accountable for the economic crisis in Sri Lanka. Accusing Russia of exacerbating a global food crisis and fueling inflation, he said, “One of the major tactics Russia has used in their invasion of Ukraine is the creation of an economic shock."

"The shocking food and fuel price hikes led to a social explosion. No one knows now how it will end," Zelensky was quoted as saying at the Asian Leadership Conference in South Korean capital Seoul in reports.

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The Russian and Ukrainian delegations on Wednesday ‘made substantive progress’ in a high-stakes meeting in Istanbul, involving UN and Turkish officials on a deal to resume exports from Black Sea port.

According to the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), 20 million tons of grain, meant for the global market, are still stuck in Ukraine’s Odessa port. Ukraine used to ship over 50 per cent of its exports from its largest Black Sea port in Odessa. But ever since the war started, a blockade by the Russian Black Sea fleet has prevented exports and imports.

With the conflict in Ukraine in its fifth month and much of the world seeing food prices soar, getting grain and fertilizer shipments moving again from two of the world’s major exporters has become a crucial task for global bodies.

Even as food prices soar internationally, experts believe that Sri Lanka’s economic crisis was set in motion by government’s mismanagement, nepotism and lack of accountability which went unchecked for decades. As the government ran out of foreign reserves, it was unable to import cooking gas and other fuels, food and medicines, causing severe shortages in the island nation.

(With inputs from ANI, Reuters)

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