Russia seeking to trigger mass migration crisis with ongoing Ukraine grain ports blockade

Russia is trying to create global food crises says Taras Vysotskyi

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Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food Taras Vysotskyi has spoken out over Russia’s policy of blockading Ukrainian grain exports amid the ongoing hostilities. Mr Vysotskyi argues that Vladimir Putin is looking to not only damage Ukraine’s agriculture industry but also use the grain blockage to spread famines and refugees. 

Mr Vysotskyi told LBC: “Their job is going to achieve at least two goals, first of all, to make the very big damage to Ukraine because our economy is export-orientated and the agricultural sector is one of the most important.

“The other is to create the global international food security crisis, which can lead to migrations, to refugees, and so on.

“Because they do understand such volumes it is impossible to find in another direction.

“so they’re just making a negative impact on the world and in Ukraine and trying to get some benefits for itself.”

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President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukrainian defenders were fighting fiercely for “every metre” of Sievierodonetsk, as Russian forces destroyed a bridge to another city across the river, leaving stranded civilians with just one way out.

Russian forces have taken most of Sievierodonetsk, having pulverized parts of the city in one of the bloodiest assaults since they invaded Ukraine on February 24.

And victory there could give them momentum in a wider battle for control over Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.

“The key tactical goal of the occupiers has not changed: they are pressing in Sievierodonetsk, severe fighting is ongoing there – literally for every metre,” President Zelensky said in his nightly video address on Sunday, adding that Russia’s military was trying to pour reserves into the Donbas.

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Mr Zelensky said the image of a 12-year-old wounded in a Russian strike was now the enduring worldwide face of Russia.

“These very facts will underscore the way in which Russia is seen by the world,” he said.

“Not Peter the Great, not Lev Tolstoy, but children injured and killed in Russian attacks,” he said, in an apparent reference to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s remarks last week comparing Moscow’s military campaign to Russian emperor Peter the Great’s 18th-century conquest of lands held by Sweden.

Ukrainian and Russian forces were still fighting street-by-street in Sievierodonetsk on Sunday, the governor of Luhansk province, Serhiy Gaidai, said.

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Russian forces have taken most of the city but Ukrainian troops remain in control of an industrial area and the Azot chemical plant where hundreds of civilians are sheltering.

“About 500 civilians remain on the grounds of the Azot plant in Sievierodonetsk, 40 of them are children. Sometimes the military manages to evacuate someone,” Gaidai said.

But the Russians had destroyed a bridge over the Siverskyi Donets River linking Sievierodonetsk with its twin city of Lysychansk, Gaidai said.

That left just one of three bridges still standing.

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