As the global food crisis continues to worsen in the face of Russia’s continuing war against Ukraine, analysts and people in power in the West have accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of using the wheat supplied by both countries as a way to get them to lift sanctions.

As 400 million people around the world, many of which are located in continents like Africa, grow hungrier after the disruption of Ukraine’s wheat supply due to the war, the West has accused Russia of stealing Ukrainian wheat and using it as a negotiating tactic to get the West to lift sanctions, according to Fortune.

“This is all deliberate,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said. “President Putin is stopping food from being shipped and aggressively using his propaganda machine to deflect or distort responsibility because he hopes it’ll get the world to give in to him and end the sanctions. In other words, simply put, it’s blackmail.”

Putin and the Kremlin have denied accusations of preventing Ukraine from exporting grain and other such foods to other countries, in spite of what the U.N. is calling “anecdotal evidence” of them bombing grain harvest and attempting to sell stolen grains to countries such as Egypt and Syria, CNBC reported.

In spite of warnings from the West about dealing with Putin during the war on Ukraine, African countries reliant on Ukrainian wheat like Senegal’s President Macky Sall have received reassurances from Putin regarding a continued source of the food, with some blaming the West for what is being perceived as hasty sanctions against Russia.

“Trying to portray Russian action, as deplorable as it is generally, as a ploy to hasten a food crisis, even a famine is simply propaganda on part of the West,” Frederick Kliem, an analyst from Singapore, said.

“We must not overlook the point that the U.S. and European countries did not make the best decision by imposing sanctions on Russia without first assessing the long-term implications and securing alternative agricultural supplies and reserves,” Rahul Mishra from the University of Malaya said.

The United Nations is reportedly in discussion with Russia regarding lifting the ban on ports to alleviate the pressure on the world’s food supply, though the U.S. has made it clear that sanction relief is not on the table.

As the global food crisis continues to worsen due to the Russian war against Ukraine that has Russia reportedly stealing grains and foodstuff from Ukrainians, Putin met with some African leaders to reassure them of their continued food supply. MIKHAIL KLIMENTYEV/Getty Images.

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