The editor-in-chief of the Russian broadcaster RT, Margarita Simonyan, has openly spoken of a calculated hunger crisis as her country’s strategic tool in the international conflict. “Our hope is hunger,” said the 42-year-old on Monday afternoon in the presence of President Vladimir Putin at the International Economic Forum in St. Petersburg.

In concrete terms, this means that the famine is beginning now and that the western countries will give in to their sanctions course, explained Simonyan. “They will lift the sanctions and be kind to us again because they will realize that it is necessary,” the RT editor-in-chief said.

The Russian state medium RT – formerly “Russia Today” – has been criticized for spreading Kremlin propaganda and disinformation. At the beginning of March, the EU had banned Russian state media from distributing their content both on television and on the Internet because of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine.

Because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the West had imposed severe sanctions against Russia several times. As a result, a global food crisis had developed as Ukraine is the world’s fourth largest grain exporter. The West blames Moscow because Russian forces have either occupied or blockaded Ukrainian ports.

The Kremlin, on the other hand, speaks of a distortion of the facts. Europe and the US have been hoarding food for a long time and importing more than they export, Putin recently claimed at the start of the economic forum last Friday.

In addition, the Kremlin chief declared the Western sanctions to have failed. “From the start, the economic blitzkrieg had no chance of succeeding,” he said. He described the sanctions as “insane” and “thoughtless” and said that they hit the EU at least as hard as Russia itself.

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Meanwhile, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell accused Russia of deliberately creating the risk of famine in large parts of the world.

It was Moscow’s “conscious political decision to use grain exports as a weapon and an instrument of extortion against anyone who opposes its aggression in Ukraine,” he wrote on his agency’s website on Saturday.