As Tuesday draws to a close in Kyiv and in Moscow, here are the key developments of the day:
The World Bank warned that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine “has magnified the slowdown in the global economy, which is entering what could become a protracted period of feeble growth and elevated inflation.” The bank’s new Global Economic Prospects report projects a drop in global growth from 5.7% last year to 2.9% in 2022 and beyond. “For many countries, recession will be hard to avoid,” World Bank President David Malpass said.
Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry tweeted that Russia is “blocking the exports” of 22 million tons of grain. The European Union’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, accused Russia of destroying a major grain terminal in the southern port city of Mykolaiv — part of a wider campaign that he said is driving up food prices and destabilizing entire regions. And European Council President Charles Michel said at a U.N. Security Council meeting on Monday that the Kremlin is using food as a missile against poorer countries, which caused Russia’s ambassador to walk out. Meanwhile the U.S. has accused Russia of trying to sell grain it has stolen from occupied parts of Ukraine.
Japan and NATO agreed to increase cooperation during a visit to Tokyo by NATO Military Committee chief Rob Bauer. The agreement arose from concerns over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “The security of Europe and Asia are closely intertwined, especially now with the international community facing serious challenges,” said Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi. If Prime Minister Fumio Kishida attends the next NATO summit, to be held in Spain at the end of June, he will become the first Japanese leader to do so.
State Department spokesman Ned Price accused the Kremlin of engaging “in a full assault on media freedom, access to information and the truth” after Russia’s Foreign Ministry summoned Moscow-based U.S. journalists and media representatives Monday and threatened them with expulsion. Price told reporters in Washington that the U.S. “continues to issue visas to qualified Russian journalists, and we have not revoked the Foreign Press Center credentials of any Russian journalists working in the United States.” Meanwhile, both Price and Russia’s U.S. Ambassador Anatoly Antonov praised an interview with U.S. Ambassador John Sullivan that appeared in Russia’s TASS news agency on Monday: Antonov called it a sign of Russia’s openness to other points of view, while Price said it showed that the U.S. “continues to engage with Russian media outlets because we believe it is vital for the people of Russia to have access to information.”
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