With global food prices soaring and global famine threatening, the priority to avoid a food crisis is to stop Russian aggression against Ukraine and withdraw all Russian troops from its territory.
According to Ukrinform, this is in the blog today on the page European External Action Service wrote EU High Representative Josep Borrell.
“In order to avoid a global food disaster, stopping the war and withdrawing Russian troops from Ukraine remains the highest priority. This is the purpose of the massive EU support for Ukraine and the restrictive measures we are taking, together with our allies, against the Putin regime. However, we have never sent sanctions against Russian agricultural products or fertilizers. The EU sanctions do not prohibit the export of any agricultural goods from Russia or payment for such goods,” the EU High Representative noted.
At the same time, he acknowledged that there is now a “war of narratives” around the food crisis. Therefore, the EU clearly presents its position and initiatives to overcome the threat of hunger in contacts with African countries and within the framework of the UN.
“I urged my African interlocutors to make a difference between a specific issue and Kremlin disinformation. When the Russian propaganda machine accuses us of being responsible for the food crisis, this is nothing but a cynical lie. The cynicism of this Russian position became particularly evident when Russia bombed the second largest grain storage in Nikolaev, just days after President Sall (President of Senegal and head of the African Union – ed.) spoke with President Putin in Sochi,” Borrell said. .
“Anyone who wants to limit the scale of the global food crisis should first of all help us increase the pressure on Russia to stop its war of aggression,” he added.
Borrell recalled that the EU opened so-called “solidarity corridors” on the borders with Ukraine to help transport Ukrainian grain across land by rail, road, and inland waterways. But this cannot solve the problem completely. That is why the EU supports the UN efforts to find a solution to resume the supply of Ukrainian grain through trade routes in the Black Sea, he admitted.
“Even before Putin launched a war against Ukraine, we were losing the global battle against hunger. This unjustified and unprovoked war is now putting hundreds of millions of people at risk of starvation. According to the UN Global Crisis Response Team, some 1.2 billion people, one in six of the world’s population, now live in countries in the grip of a “perfect storm” and suffer from a combination of factors, including rising food prices, energy and deteriorating financial condition,” said the High Representative of the EU.
For decades, Ukraine has been one of the planet’s most important global breadbaskets, he said. Today, Putin’s troops are shelling, mining and occupying fertile Ukrainian lands, destroying farm equipment, warehouses, markets, roads and bridges, blocking Ukrainian ports, preventing millions of tons of Ukrainian grain from being exported to the world market, Borrell said. Russia has turned the Black Sea into a war zone that blocks grain and fertilizer supplies from Ukraine.
In addition, Borrell stressed, the fighting in the Black Sea also hinders Russian sea supplies. At the same time, Russia applies a system of quotas and fees for its own grain exports. All this is the result of a conscious political decision by the Kremlin to weaponize these food exports and use them as a tool for blackmail against any country that does not agree with Russian military aggression against Ukraine.
According to the High Representative of the EU, this situation requires immediate action. The European Union has already provided about 1 billion euros for the countries of the Sahel region and Lake Chad, as well as 600 million euros of emergency assistance for the countries of the Horn of Africa. Another 225 million euros the EU sent to the countries of North Africa, the region that is most dependent on food supplies from Ukraine and Russia. Another 1.5 billion euros is earmarked for an adequate food system in the EU’s Eastern and Southern Neighbourhood, the Western Balkans and Turkey until 2024.
As reported, on February 24, Russia launched an unprovoked war against Ukraine, carried out massive shelling and bombing of Ukrainian cities and villages, unleashed terror against the civilian population in the temporarily occupied territories. All the people of Ukraine rose up to fight against the invaders.
As a result of the fighting and the blockade of Ukrainian seaports in Ukraine, more than 20 million tons of grain intended for export under the UN World Food Program were blocked, which put a number of vulnerable countries, especially in Africa, under the threat of starvation.
Photo: Laura Celmina, Ārlietu ministrija