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PHNOM PENH: Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has urged Southeast Asian countries to secure political and material support in his country’s fight against Russia, while accusing Moscow on Saturday of playing games “hunger games” with the world by blocking shipments of Ukrainian grain and other agricultural products.
Kuleba told reporters on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit that with a deal allowing Ukraine to export grain and fertilizer set to expire on November 19, the world was to pressure Russia not to oppose its extension, saying Ukrainian products were essential. in Africa and Asia.
However, more than just pursuing the deal, Kuleba accused Russian inspectors of “quiet sabotage”, saying they were intentionally dragging their feet in allowing shipments through.
Not only must Russia “continue to be part of the initiative, but it must also ask its inspectors to act in good faith and avoid any measure, any step, which creates obstacles and hinders the export of products Ukrainian agricultural products to the world market,” he said.
“Russia should – must – stop playing hunger games with the world.”
The Kuleba country was invited to the ASEAN summit for the first time this year and signed a peace deal with the group of nations with a combined population of nearly 700 million people.
Many member countries have so far been reserved in their stance towards the invasion, condemning the war but generally trying to avoid assigning blame. Eight of the 10 ASEAN countries voted in favor of the UN General Assembly resolution condemning Russian aggression, with Vietnam and Laos abstaining.
Kuleba said the signing of the ASEAN agreement was a strong message of support from the group, while adding that “the litmus test is the … vote in the UN General Assembly for resolutions relating to to Ukraine”.
ASEAN is made up of Cambodia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Laos, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Brunei and Myanmar, although Myanmar rulers are not allowed to participate in ongoing meetings due to the ongoing violence in the country and its lack of effort in implementing the group’s peace plan after the 2021 military coup.
Kuleba said he was using the occasion of the Phnom Penh summit as “an Asian tour”, meeting with ASEAN members and non-members like Australia to plead for more political support, aid equipment – ​​such as transformers and generators to repair those destroyed in the fighting – and improved food security and trade.
He spoke the day US President Joe Biden arrived for the talks and was due to meet Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the sidelines.
He said he had hoped to meet the Chinese foreign minister, but was told he would not be present. Kuleba added that Ukraine was maintaining a dialogue with China to push Beijing to “use its influence on Russia to make it stop the war”. ”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was also present at ASEAN meetings, and Kuleba said if Lavrov asked to meet him he would be ready to consider the request, but blamed Russia so far to use the talks as a “smokescreen for his continued aggression on the pitch.”
“Ukraine will win, it’s only a matter of time and price,” he said. “And yes, some gains are made militarily, but some of Ukraine’s gains will be made diplomatically.”
But, he said, in all discussions, “the territorial integrity of Ukraine is not something that can be discussed.”

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