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European governments have been alarmed by a Russian disinformation campaign that seeks to deflect criticism that President Vladimir Putin’s war with Ukraine risks leaving millions of people in Africa facing famine.

Russian diplomats have gone on a media offensive in recent months to push the narrative that sanctions, rather than Russian blockades, are causing shortages of grains and fertilizer in Africa. The public-relations onslaught shows how the monthslong war in Ukraine is becoming a global propaganda battle as food, fuel and crop-nutrient prices surge.

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