US says Russia ‘doesn't care’ about starvation as grain stops

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The United States on Tuesday accused Russia of deciding to let the developing world “starve” after pulling out of a UN-brokered deal with Ukraine to export grain.

The body overseeing the July deal, also negotiated by Turkey, said that grain exports will halt as of Wednesday after Russia over the weekend announced a pullout.

“Any decision by the Kremlin to disrupt this initiative is essentially a statement that Moscow doesn't care,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.

“Moscow doesn't care if the world goes hungry. Moscow doesn't care if people starve. Moscow doesn't care if the world's food insecurity crisis is compounded,” he told reporters.

Price said that the United States backed efforts by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to revive the pact and will do whatever “he deems useful for us” to do.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has demanded security guarantees from Ukraine, which he invaded in February, after he accused Kyiv of using the grain corridor to attack Russian ships in Crimea.

Price a day earlier accused Russia of “extortion” with the demand. Asked Tuesday if the United States would support changes in the arrangement, Price said, “The initiative was working.”

He pointed to UN figures that nearly 10 million metric tonnes have been shipped, helping ease global food prices that had soared after the invasion of Ukraine, a global breadbasket.

Price said that “every single ounce” of food benefited the world's hungry.

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