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Russia acting like Soviet Union in Ukraine, says EU’s Von der Leyen

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Tuesday compared alleged actions by the Russian army in occupied Ukrainian territories to Soviet-era crop seizures.

Brussels, 24 May 2022 (dpa/MIA) – European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on Tuesday compared alleged actions by the Russian army in occupied Ukrainian territories to Soviet-era crop seizures.

“In Russian-occupied Ukraine, the Kremlin’s army is confiscating grain stocks and machinery,” von der Leyen said in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“For some, this has brought back memories from a dark past – the times of the Soviets’ crop seizures and the devastating famine of the 1930s,” von der Leyen said, referring to a famine that killed millions of Ukrainians.

Russia is blocking the export of 20 million tons of grain from Ukraine, primarily to North Africa and Asia, according to the German government.

According to the UN’s World Food Programme, 276 million people were suffering from acute hunger at the start of 2022. If the war in Ukraine continues, that number could rise by an additional 47 million.

Von der Leyen called Russia’s bombardments of grain warehouses and blockade of agricultural exports “shameful acts” which made global wheat prices “skyrocket.”

“Russia is now hoarding its own food exports as a form of blackmail – holding back supplies to increase global prices, or trading wheat in exchange for political support,” von der Leyen said. “This is using hunger and grain to wield power.”

Von der Leyen called for an international response saying “global cooperation is the antidote to Russia’s blackmail.”

The European Commission is also “supporting Africa in becoming less dependent on food imports,” von der Leyen said.

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