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Russia Rejects Role in Growing Grain Crisis

FILE - A wheat warehouse belonging to Ivan Kilgan, head of the regional agricultural association village, in Luky village, in western Ukraine, on March 25, 2022.

Moscow's military invasion of Ukraine has not only devastated crops and farming, but also disrupted crucial deliveries from that pro-western nation -- one of the world's main grain producers -- fuelling concern about hunger and food prices worldwide.

Russia on Wednesday rejected suggestions that grain stuck in Ukrainian ports was fueling a global food crisis as Moscow pressed ahead with its military offensive.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated "As far as we know, there is much less grain than the Ukrainians say. There is no need to exaggerate the importance of these grain reserves."

"This is too small a percentage to have an impact on the development of the food crisis that has already begun. It was not the Ukrainian crisis that caused or sped up the food crisis in the world," he said.

Peskov added "The Ukrainian side must say what they need, whether they want to send this grain somewhere at all."

"The current situation with Ukrainian grain has nothing to do with the food crisis," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated.

Lavrov recently was in Ankara for talks to create a security corridor to ship grain from Ukraine.

Russia and Ukraine produce 30 percent of the global wheat supply.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Monday that about 20-25 million tons of grain were currently blocked in Ukrainian ports and that could grow to 70-75 million tons icome autumn.

Russia has repeatedly denied blocking the passage of cargo ships loaded with Ukrainian grain, instead blaming Western sanctions against Moscow for contributing to the food crisis.