Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, the recent target of American sanctions, offered on Friday, and not without irony, to deliver infant formula milk to the United States, in light of its severe shortages.
The United States has been facing infant milk supply problems as a result of disruptions caused by Covid-19 for several months. The crisis also worsened when a factory of the manufacturer Abbott closed in February, after a recall of products suspected of having caused the death of two infants.
“We are ready to help the Americans by delivering infant food to them. If they want it, we can do it even tomorrow,” said the Belarusian authoritarian leader, quoted by the Belarussian State News Agency Belta.
Empty shelves, and the anxiety of parents, especially those whose babies need specific types of milks, are a major political problem for the government of US President Joe Biden.
Last week, US authorities announced they were importing 2 million baby formula cans from the UK.
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The crisis touches a sensitive point, for a president who claims to be concerned above all with the daily life of his fellow citizens, and who is already struggling in the face of galloping inflation.
The authoritarian regime of Alexander Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus with an iron fist since 1994 and whose re-election in 2020 is disputed, has been targeted for years of American sanctions.
In March, Washington announced new economic sanctions against him for corruption and human rights violations. Belarus is the main ally of Russia, which has been engaged since February 24 in an offensive in Ukraine. Belarus has become a military base for Russian soldiers.