Russia to Kenya: Blame US and EU for high food, fuel prices

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Kenya's Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Macharia Kamau hosts Russia’s ambassador to Kenya Dmitry Maksimychev in Nairobi on March 12, 2022.

To many, including the UN Security Council, Russia “unjustly invaded” Ukraine, sparking the food and energy crises that are rocking the Kenyan and global economy. Believable as it may sound, that is just one side of the story laced with “American propaganda”, according to Russia’s ambassador to Kenya, Dmitry Maksimychev. In this wide-ranging email interview, Maksimychev cites whom to blame for the high prices of fuel, cooking gas and wheat products.

  • Kenya and other African states are experiencing acute shortages of wheat and petroleum products, among other essential commodities, because of Russia’ invasion of Ukraine. Do you regret your actions?

On food shortages, there are two things that you need to understand.

First, the growth of food prices started several years ago as a result of the very irresponsible and, frankly, inadequate policies of the US, the EU and the like in response to an unfolding global financial and economic crisis they themselves provoked that was also exacerbated by the Covid pandemic. Basically, what they did was printing money, borrowing, speculating, and printing money again. Inevitably, this led to inflation. There are certain economic laws that even the US and the EU cannot violate with impunity.

Second, they used the pretext of the Ukraine crisis to wage economic war on Russia, isolate us as one of the world’s largest producers of food and fertilisers from the markets by denying us access to financial and transport services. Of course, this leads to shrinking offers of food and fertilisers and soaring prices. It’s the economy…

Your question on regrets should be redirected to Brussels [EU headquarters], Washington, London, Ottawa, etc., who generated the food crisis.

My only regret is that the West’s inept economic policies and dirty geopolitical games jeopardise food security and development of Africa.

  • And why has Russia stopped wheat exports to regions that heavily depend on such supplies, including Kenya and the Horn of Africa in general?

To supply something to somewhere, you need access to money, to transport, insurance, etc. You also need access to the money your buyer is willing to pay to you. Without all this, trade is impossible. But because of illegal “sanctions” by the EU, US, UK and the like, we do not have access to all these services, we cannot use the SWIFT payment system, and we cannot use neither euros nor dollars. How can we trade? Ask Brussels, London, Washington, etc.

And, by the way, ask them, why don’t they sell you the wheat Africa needs? They are also big producers. And they make lots and lots of money on it.

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