US rules out lifting Russia sanctions in exchange for end of Black Sea blockade

U.S. State Department spokesperson Ned Price

“So we certainly won’t lift our sanctions in response to empty promises, and we’ve heard empty promises before from the Russian Federation,” said Price.

“I think we have – all have good reason to be skeptical when we hear various pledges and offers from Russia.”

He characterized the Kremlin’s efforts to weaponize food and energy as horrific.

Read also: Ukraine establishes two alternative routes for food exports — FM Kuleba

According to Price, the global food shortage, caused by the war, is not related to Western Russia sanctions but is due to Moscow’s “self-imposed” export restrictions.

Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov remain blockaded by the Russian navy, preventing Ukraine from exporting its agricultural produce.

The deficit of Ukrainian grain and seed oil is causing a global food crisis, with prices set to rise by 20-30% this year.

On May 25, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said the country would be willing to allow Ukrainian grain exports through the Black Sea, in exchange for the United States and the EU lifting sanctions.