October 3, 2023

White House blasts Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s Africa tour: He’s ‘attempting to stem the onslaught of outrage against Russia’ after invading Ukraine and causing a global food crisis

Former White House Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre holds her first press briefing as Press Secretary, Monday, May 16, 2022, in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House. (Official White House Photo by Hannah Foslien)

The White House on Monday blasted Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov‘s African tour, asserting that he is “attempting to stem the onslaught of outrage against Russia” after invading Ukraine and causing a global food crisis. On his trip, Lavrov is attempting to make the case that the invasion of Ukraine was justified and is not the cause of the global food crisis affecting Africa.

“The Russian federation knows its horrific war against Ukraine has caused the majority of the international community to see it as a pariah state,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said during a press briefing in Washington.

She said Russia has created a global food crisis by preventing grain exports and that Its bombing of the Odesa port is a violation of its own agreements. “Foreign Minister Lavrov as you just stated is attempting to engage with countries to try to stem the onslaught of outrage against Russia, especially by misrepresenting Russia’s role in causing a surge in global food insecurity,” said Jean-Pierre.

Lavrov, who visited Egypt on Sunday, was in Congo-Brazzaville on Monday, and will be traveling to Uganda on Tuesday, and Ethiopia on Wednesday where he is expected to hold meetings at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.

Uganda was one of the 25 African nations to abstain on the United Nations resolution condemning Russia in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine last February. Recently President Yoweri Museveni who has been in power for a long time said that it best to keep the government’s views private. However, his son and likely political heir, General Muhoozi Kainerugaba tweeted that Russia was “absolutely right” to invade Ukraine. Uganda’s state broadcaster has also announced that it will now run news bulletins from RT twice a day.

RT, the Kremlin-backed television network formerly known as Russia Today, is setting up its first Africa bureau to counter accusations from the United States and Europe that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is unjustified and driving up global food and fuel prices. RT will be competing against other government-backed broadcasters such as British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and China Global Television Network (CGTN).

Lavrov trip comes as French President Emmanuel Macron will be in West Africa this week while the United States Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Michael Hammer is also traveling to Egypt and Ethiopia.

His first stop in Cairo on Sunday came just after Russia launched missile strikes on Ukraine’s largest port in Odesa, barely a day after signing an agreement with Ukraine to allow the port to re-open to grain exports.

Russia claimed that it struck what it described as “military infrastructure”, while Lavrov tried to blame Western sanctions and Ukrainian mines for the shortages that have sent grain prices soaring.

Lavrov, who penned a column ahead of his trip, praising African countries for rejecting sanctions on Russia and resisting Western efforts to impose what it described as “a unipolar world order”, also asserted that Russia’s war on Ukraine is to help the Ukrainian people “liberate themselves from their “unacceptable regime.”

He reminded African nations the Soviet Union stood with African nations during their struggles to liberate themselves from colonial powers from Europe.

Russia is currently Africa’s top supplier of arms and has good relations with many countries on the continent.

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