AP

Africa ‘taken hostage’ by Russia’s invasion, Zelenskyy says

Jun 20, 2022, 10:32 PM | Updated: Jun 21, 2022, 10:00 am

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — “Africa is actually taken hostage” in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine amid catastrophically rising food prices, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the African Union continental body during a closed-door address on Monday.

It took weeks of requests for Zelenskyy to address African nations, many of whom retain close ties to Russia and failed to support a U.N. General Assembly resolution condemning the invasion earlier this year.

Ukraine and the West hope to weaken those ties by emphasizing that Russia’s actions are to blame for dramatic shortages of wheat and edible oils and skyrocketing food and fuel prices across the African continent of 1.3 billion people. Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian exports is a “war crime,” the European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, said on Monday.

“They are trying to use you and the suffering of the people to put pressure on the democracies that have imposed sanctions on Russia,” Zelenskyy told the AU, whose leaders recently met in Russia with President Vladimir Putin and echoed Moscow’s assertion that Western sanctions are in part to blame for the food security crisis. They appealed to other countries to ensure grain and fertilizer exports from Russia and Ukraine aren’t blocked.

Millions of people in the Horn of Africa, including Ethiopia and Somalia, are now struggling to find food or even humanitarian food aid amid a historic drought. The Associated Press was the first to report hundreds of deaths this year in Somalia alone.

“We know for a fact there will be increased deaths … well into 2023,” USAID Ethiopia mission director Sean Jones told the AP last week.

Official reaction to Zelenskyy’s speech was muted. African Union Commission chair Moussa Faki Mahamat, one of those who met with Putin, tweeted that African nations “reiterated the AU position of the urgent need for dialogue to end the conflict.” Current AU chair and Senegalese President Macky Sall tweeted that Africa respects “the peaceful resolution of conflicts and the freedom of commerce.”

Russia is the largest weapons exporter to sub-Saharan Africa, and Moscow emphasizes its long ties with African nations dating to the Soviet Union. Some African leaders, meanwhile, are exasperated by global powers’ efforts to choose one side or another.

Ukraine will press its case again later this week when its foreign minister speaks to Africa-based reporters in a briefing organized by the United States government on how “Russian Federation’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine affects food security on the African continent.”

The EU’s top diplomat said he has written to all African foreign ministers to explain that the bloc’s sanctions on Russia are not responsible for the looming global food crisis, and pledged to work out ways for exports of food and fertilizers to reach their continent.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

A Boeing 737 Max suffered damage to parts of the plane's structure after it went into a “Dutch ro...

Associated Press

Plane that did ‘Dutch roll’ on flight from Phoenix suffered structural damage, investigators say

A Boeing 737 Max suffered damage to parts of the plane's structure after it went into a “Dutch roll” during a flight from Phoenix last month.

17 hours ago

This photo provided by Randy Shannon shows Mooney Falls on the Havasupai reservation outside the vi...

Associated Press

Dozens report illness after trips to waterfalls near Grand Canyon

Dozens of hikers say they fell ill during trips to a popular Arizona tourist destination that features towering blue-green waterfalls deep in a gorge neighboring Grand Canyon National Park.

2 days ago

Mugshot of Rudy Giuliani, who was processed Monday, June 10, 2024, in the Arizona fake electors cas...

Associated Press

Rudy Giuliani posts $10K cash bond after being processed in Arizona fake electors case

Rudy Giuliani, a former New York City mayor and Donald Trump attorney, was processed Monday in the Arizona fake electors case.

4 days ago

FILE - White House former chief of staff Mark Meadows speaks with reporters at the White House, Wed...

Associated Press

Former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows pleads not guilty in Arizona fake elector case

Former Donald Trump presidential chief of staff Mark Meadows and Trump 2020 Election Day operations director Michael Roman pleaded not guilty Friday in Phoenix to nine felony charges for their roles in an effort to overturn Trump's Arizona election loss to Joe Biden.

8 days ago

deadly heat wave last summer...

Associated Press

After a deadly heat wave last summer, metro Phoenix is changing tactics

Fresh memories of the deadly heat wave last summer have led Arizona authorities to launch new tactics ahead of summer 2024.

18 days ago

A Yuma man has been arrested for allegedly starting a wildfire in a national wildlife preserve near...

Associated Press

Man accused of starting wildfire in national wildlife preserve in Yuma

A Yuma man has been arrested for allegedly starting a wildfire in a national wildlife preserve near the California border.

19 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...

DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Desert Institute for Spine Care is the place for weekend warriors to fix their back pain

Spring has sprung and nothing is better than March in Arizona. The temperatures are perfect and with the beautiful weather, Arizona has become a hotbed for hikers, runners, golfers, pickleball players and all types of weekend warriors.

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinics: transforming health care in the valley

Midwestern University, long a fixture of comprehensive health care education in the West Valley, is also a recognized leader in community health care.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

Africa ‘taken hostage’ by Russia’s invasion, Zelenskyy says