Putin accused of aiming to trigger famine in Middle East and Africa to destabilize Europe

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Russian President Vladimir Putin is deliberately aiming to trigger a famine in the Middle East and Africa, according to the former German ambassador to Russia.

The Kremlin’s goal is to destabilize Europe through a massive refugee influx, Rüdiger von Fritsch told Sunday’s edition of the Tagesspiegel newspaper.

“Putin’s idea is that after the collapse of grain supplies, starving people will flee from these regions and try to get to Europe, like the millions of Syrians who fled the horrors of war,” he said.

That is why Russia is preventing Ukraine from exporting grain and is bombing grain silos, von Fritsch said.

“With new refugee flows, he wants to destabilize Europe and build up political pressure so that Western states give up their tough stance against Russia,” von Fritsch explained, saying this is Putin’s “new hybrid warfare.”

This new way of waging of war includes non-military means such as cyberattacks or disinformation campaigns.

Ukraine is one of the largest grain producers in the world. However, exports via its seaports have come to a standstill because of the war.

According to the German government, Russia is blocking Ukraine from exporting 20 million tons of grain, mainly to North Africa and Asia, much of it at the port of Odessa.