Pro-Kremlin and Russian state-affiliated websites, persons, and entities have framed the coming food crisis as the fault of sanctions and Ukraine. The crisis is caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russia’s theft of Ukrainian grain, blocked exportation, and the destruction of stored grain. Russia accuses Ukraine of all of these. Anders Åslund details Russia’s actions thus far:
In some cases, the content frames the coming food shortages as the product of sanctions intended to hurt Russia but that hurt countries in Africa instead. Russian disinformation portrays Russia as an ally of Africa wanting to get grain there rather than the reason for famine. Belarus is offered as evidence of Russia’s claims. Russia casts itself as an anti-colonial actor on the side of Africans but its behavior is some of the most imperialist exploitation in recent memory.
The visceral unpopularity that will be endured by whoever is perceived as responsible for mass starvation appears to be something that Russia is keen to avoid. NATO allies and partner countries should counter these false claims immediately, and not entertain them as serious statements. Evidence of Russian theft and destruction of grain has been a constant thread since the beginning of the invasion. Hoaxlines documented some of this in an earlier record.
One noteworthy element has been the positive coverage of Turkey, France, and Germany, seeming to paint them as reasonable NATO countries, while implying Ukraine is causing Russia’s man-made food shortage. The positive press may aim to incentivize further cooperation with Russian aims by obstructing support for Ukraine or it might be an effort to divide the mostly unified Western front against the invasion of Ukraine.
Examples of content
Original and incorrect spellings have been retained in the headlines and text.
Refutations of specific arguments
The following are true or mostly true statements that the Russian state has “debunked” or dismissed.
- The Special Military Operation of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in Ukraine and Donbass has endangered the world’s food supply (Source: Comments by EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/EU Commission Vice-President Josep Borrell following the EU Foreign Affairs Council, 11 April 2022, Brussels).
- Russia is occupying Ukrainian lands and shelling Ukraine's farmlands. The sowing campaign in Ukraine in 2022 is under threat. (Source: Blog post of EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell «Food Insecurity: The Time to Act is Now», 7 April 2022).
- Russia is intentionally destroying Ukrainian agriculture, including machinery, granaries and infrastructure. (Source: Address by President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen at the World Economic Forum in Davos, 24 May 2022)
- Russia is blocking grain supplies via the Black Sea. (Source: Comment by President of the European Council Charles Michel during his visit to Odessa on 9 May 2022)
- Russia is weaponising grain stocks and reducing grain and fertilizer supplies in response to Western sanctions. (Source: Speech by President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen at the World Economic Forum in Davos, 24 May 2022).
- EU sanctions against Russia do not affect on food security, since the agricultural sector of the Russian economy is not the target of EU restrictions. (Source: Blog post of EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell «Food Insecurity: The Time to Act is Now», 7 April 2022)
- The Special Military Operation of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in Ukraine and Donbass has led to an unprecedented rise of energy prices (Source: Statement by European Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson, 8 March 2022).
- Russia is using energy supplies for political purposes. (Source: Blog post “Europe’s energy security and EU-US cooperation” by the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, 6 February 2022).
Russian state-controlled outlets
Millions of tons of Ukrainian grain exports: Zelensky delay in the open sea corridor, threatening the world with a global food crisis - Global Research
“LAND BRIDGE” FROM RUSSIA TO CRIMEA COMPLETED. “PUTIN TO GO TO TRANSNISTRIA” – US INTELLIGENCE - SouthFront
Anti-Russian sanctions have left Africa without access to grain and Fertilizer, the head of the African Union, said - Sputnik international
Kiev Regime Admits Grain of Truth in Global Food Crisis - Strategic Culture
Backlinked to Russian-state-controlled website
Grain burned by Ukrainian nationalists - Newsnet.fr
Germany has plan to help ‘prevent global famine’ - Kashco.co.uk
Millions of Tons of Ukrainian Grain Exports: Zelensky’s Delay In Opening A Sea Corridor Threatens the World with A Global Food Crisis - Counter Information
Diplomatic of official websites
Ministry of Foreign Affairs website - Busting European Union myths on causes of global food and energy disruptions
Diplomatic or official social media
- The only thing Ukraine needs to do to unblock food exports is to remove its sea mines and allow ships with grain to leave the Ukrainian ports. - Twitter
- Erdogan says he’d like to discuss ‘grain corridor’ from Ukraine with Putin, Zelensky - Twitter - TASS
- The current situation with 🇺🇦grain has nothing to do with a #foodcrisis. The share of Ukrainian #grain that is at stake is less than 1️⃣% of the global production of wheat and other cereals. - Twitter - Russian Embassy, UK
- 💬 Russia will not be the obstacle for grain exports 💬 However, there are approx. 1,000 of sea mines surrounding the port of Odessa and preventing int. ships from entering - Twitter - Russian Mission in Geneva
- ❌Myth: 🇷🇺weaponises grain stocks, reduces grain & fertilizer supplies in response to sanctions ✅Fact: Western sanctions are the main obstacle to normal export relations between 🇷🇺&🇧🇾 and buyers of grain & fertilizers - Twitter - Russian Embassy in Kenya
Also tweeted by mfa_Russia
Pro-Kremlin social media
- Senegal’s President Sall: "The sanctions against Russia have worsened this situation and now we have no access to grain from Russia, mainly wheat. And, most importantly, we have no access to fertilizers. The situation was bad and now it has worsened…” - Twitter - Max Blumenthal retweeted by elenaevdokimov7
- Discussion of Ukraine as having mined its own beaches - Twitter - RWAPodcast
- Do you really think that Ukraine cares about a possible famine in Africa? - Twitter - elenaevdokimov7
- Yesterday the Kiev regime confirmed it refuses to demine the port of Odessa to allow the export of grain - Twitter - WyattReed13
- But CNN told me it was PUTIN who was responsible for withholding Ukrainian grain in exchange for political concessions!! (screenshot of RT article)- Twitter - jacksonhinklle retweeted by Russ_Warrior
- be EU sanction Russia Russia one of the largest fertilizer & grain producers supplies drop prices skyrocket cope_and_seethe.jpeg - Twitter - AlexeiArora retweeted by Russ_Warrior