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Russia says EU sanctions will backfire, accelerate looming global food crisis

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov addressing media following a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council in Riyadh on Wednesday (Image courtesy: Twitter/@mfa_russia)

Russia said on Thursday that the European Union's decisions to phase out Russian oil and oil products, as well as banning the insurance of Russian merchant ships, will ultimately backfire, provoke further price increases, destabilize energy markets, and disrupt supply chains.

Reacting to the results of the extraordinary EU summit held in Brussels on May 30-31, Moscow said that the main elements of the next package of anti-Russian unilateral restrictions, "agreed under the slogan of combating dependence on Russia", will have a "self-destructive effect" for the European Union.

"Russia will adequately withstand the consequences of the EU's unilateral restrictive measures and remain a reliable trading partner in the international arena. The entire responsibility for the risks of exacerbation of global food and energy problems provoked by the illegitimate actions of the European Union will lie solely with Brussels and its political sponsors in Washington," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement today.

The European leaders, during their two-day special meeting in Brussels, had agreed on the sixth package of sanctions against Russia which will cover crude oil, as well as petroleum products, delivered from Russia to member states. The 27-nation bloc decided to stop importing 90 per cent of Russian oil by the end of 2022. 

Highlighting that it took Brussels almost a month "to force the member countries to this decisive demonstration of solidarity", Russia said that such actions will backfire, undermine the economy and energy security of the EU and accelerate the looming global food crisis.

"It is obvious to an unbiased observer that the illegal unilateral restrictions of Brussels are not only futile, but also harm, first of all, the inhabitants of the EU countries, aggravating their already difficult socio-economic situation. Against this background, the EU calls for third countries to support anti-Russian sanctions, regardless of the interests of their population, sound frankly cynical," insists the Vladimir Putin government.

The Kremlin believes that the EU is losing its independence and the peaceful unifying pan-European agenda that the founding fathers of the "united Europe" invested in.

"EU leaders again did not say a word about the scenario for a peaceful negotiated settlement of the situation in Ukraine, which, as you know, is blocked by Kyiv. On the contrary, the European Union is purposefully pushing Kyiv ever closer to the edge of the abyss. It supports its militant ambitions with vague promises of EU integration, deliveries of deadly weapons and promises of money," the statement added.

Russia's response to the EU summit comes as the United States, Germany and even Slovakia announced supply of more sophisticated weapons to Ukraine.

Washington's latest package of equipment for Ukraine includes four M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS), five counter-artillery radar systems; two air-surveillance radars; 1,000 Javelins and 50 command launch units; 6,000 antiarmour weapons; 15,000 155-mm artillery rounds; four Mi-17 helicopters; 15 tactical vehicles; and additional spare parts and equipment.

"What the HIMARS will allow them to do is to get greater standoff. Right now, the Howitzers we provided them have about a 30 km range; the HIMARS have more than twice that, which will allow them — even with fewer systems — greater standoff," said Colin Kahl, the US Under Secretary of Defence for Policy, during a briefing at the Pentagon last night.

Germany will be supplying Ukraine anti-aircraft missiles and radar systems while Slovakia today confirmed that it will deliver 8 self-propelled howitzers Zuzana 2 to Ukraine.  

Also Read: Russia defiant after EU oil ban – says it will find new importers