Russia Courts African Nations and Aims to Deflect Blame for Food Crisis

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during a four-nation Africa tour rejected Western accusations that his country was to blame for a deadly hunger crisis on the continent and thanked leaders for not joining U.S. and European sanctions against Moscow.

Mr. Lavrov’s trip—with stops in Egypt, the Republic of Congo, Uganda and Ethiopia—coincided with a visit by French President Emmanuel Macron to three west African states, highlighting the intensifying battle for influence over a continent that has so far largely sought to stay on the sidelines of the global confrontation over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. During her own visit to Kenya over the weekend, U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Samantha Power said the war and the resulting blockade of Ukrainian grain exports had exacerbated the effects of east Africa’s worst drought in at least four decades, pushing up food prices and forcing millions of people to the brink of starvation.

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