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Zelenskyy calls on UN food body to kick out Russia

PARIS — Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Thursday that Russia should be excluded from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations for Moscow’s role in the current food crisis.

“There cannot be even a question of Russia’s continued membership in the FAO,” Zelenskyy said during the opening session of the OECD ministerial meeting in Paris on Thursday. “What is there for Russia to do if it’s working for starvation of at least 400 million people and, at most, a billion people?”

Zelenskyy’s call comes as Russia continues to block Ukraine’s grain exports via the Black Sea, which has further pushed up high food prices globally. The U.N. is trying to facilitate a diplomatic solution to the blockade.

Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who chaired the OECD conference, said: “The United Nations’ mediation efforts are significant steps, and I think, unfortunately, the only ones,” he said.

The Ukrainian president praised the OECD, a group of mostly rich countries, for having stopped Russia’s accession process to the organization, and called on other groups to follow its “example” and exclude Russia too.

“There are governments, countries and international organizations that believe they may be sitting back and not reacting to what is happening, this is a problem of values, not geopolitics,” Zelenskyy said.

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