TOP STORIES US warns African countries that buying Russian oil could...

US warns African countries that buying Russian oil could violate sanctions


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Ahead of a trip to Uganda and Ghana this week, US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that in an interview that it will be an “audition trip” and that she wants to find solutions rather than blaming the food insecurity crisis that has intensified on the African continent since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

But upon her arrival in Uganda, she warned African countries that there were red lines they should not cross.

“Countries can buy Russian agricultural products, including fertilizers and wheat,” Ms. Thomas-Greenfield said on Thursday. according to the Associated Press. But, she added, “if a country decides to engage with Russia where there are sanctions, then they violate those sanctions.”

Buying Russian oil could mean violating those sanctions. The US banned imports of Russian oil and natural gas in March, and the European Union will ban imports of most Russian oil by the end of the year.

“We caution countries not to violate these sanctions,” Ms. Thomas-Greenfield said, because then “they have a chance that action will be taken against them.”

Most African countries have tried to stay out of Russia’s fight with Ukraine. However, they suffered from its effects. Russia and Ukraine are major grain exporters to African countries, and rising prices as a result of the war, exacerbated by drought, conflict and the ongoing economic impact of the pandemic, have hit families hard.

Hundreds of millions of people in Africa are malnourished. According to humanitarian aid organization Alima, almost a million people are at risk of death in just one region: the Sahel, a vast stretch of land south of the Sahara.

It is not clear how effective Ms. Thomas-Greenfield’s warning will be. Even if African countries are penalized for buying Russian oil, some may decide it’s worth the price. The staggering rise in fuel prices and fuel shortages have already hit them hard and pushed food prices even higher.

During a trip to four African countries last month, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denied any Russian responsibility for the global food shortage, instead blaming Russia for Western sanctions for keeping its grain out of the markets. Western officials have repeatedly said – and Ms. Thomas-Greenfield emphasized this before her trip to Africa – that the sanctions do not prevent the export of Russian agricultural products, and gave specific assurances that the entities involved in such trade do not violate them. .

However, Russia’s message continues to spread. Following the visit of Ms. Thomas-Greenfield, Yoweri Museveni, President of Uganda, said on Twitter“If they really want to help Africa, they should consider getting us out of sanctions in a war we’re not in.” The post included a photo of him with Miss Thomas Greenfield.

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