The spat followed accusations by Mr Michel that the Kremlin are lying and “solely” at fault for food shortages being suffered in Ukraine and across the globe. The accusations saw Russia’s ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia walk out of the meeting after he previously accused officials in both Ukraine and the West of falsely attacking Russia with lies over their supposed atrocities.
Mr Nebenzia called the claims from the West “mendacious and unfounded” and he used his speech to reiterate the Kremlin’s narrative that Ukraine had been taken over by Nazis.
He added that the Ukrainian forces were the ones carrying out the atrocities which have been pinned on the Russians such as committing rape.
With Russia standing by their claim that sanctions from the West are causing a global food crisis, the European Council President attempted to set the record straight.
Mr Michel said: “The EU has no sanctions on the agricultural sector — zero.
“And even our sanctions on the Russian transport sector do not go beyond our EU borders.”
He added: “They do not prevent Russian-flagged vessels from carrying grain, food or fertilisers to developing countries.”
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To drive his point home, Mr Michel turned to address the Russian ambassador and said: “Mr Ambassador of the Russian Federation, let’s be honest: the Kremlin is using food supplies as a stealth missile against developing countries.
“The dramatic consequences of Russia’s war are spilling over across the globe, and this is driving up food prices, pushing people into poverty, and destabilising entire regions.”
He continued: “And Russia is solely responsible for this food crisis — Russia alone, despite the Kremlin’s campaign of lies and disinformation.
“I’ve seen it with my own eyes, a few weeks ago in Odesa, millions of tons of grain and wheat stuck in containers and ships because of Russian warships in the Black Sea and because of Russia’s attack on transport infrastructure.”
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Mr Nebenzia stormed out of the meeting after being visibly flustered by the remarks which led to Mr Michel taking a final swipe, saying: “You may walk out…maybe it’s easier not to listen to the truth.”
Both Ukrainian and Western officials have accused Russia of stealing Ukrainian grain.
On Monday, the European Council President also met with UN Secretary-General António Guterres who has been attempting to negotiate opening up shipping corridors to continue exports of grain from Ukraine to countries around the world.