On Saturday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zhelensky called for international pressure to end Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian Black Sea ports, allowing exports needed to avert a global food crisis.
Speaking via video at the Asia-Pacific Security Council Shangri-La Dialogue, he warned that “if Ukrainian exports do not resume, the world will face a severe food crisis and famine in many parts of Asia and Africa.”
“Food shortages will inevitably lead to political turmoil”
Ukraine, before the Russian invasion, was the world’s largest producer of sunflower oil and a major exporter of wheat, and millions of tons of grain are currently barred from being exported due to the Russian siege.
The United Nations and some countries are pushing for the opening of a sea route that would allow Ukrainian exports to resume.
“Food shortages will inevitably lead to political turmoil, which threatens to overthrow many governments,” he told delegates in Singapore for the summit, including Pentagon President Lloyd Austin and his Chinese counterpart.
France is ready to help
kyiv is currently in talks with the United Nations to allow the export of grain to Turkey and other countries, and for his part Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with his Turkish minister in Ankara this week, but no progress has been made so far.
Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky said, currently exports two million tons of grain per month by train, but this is less than it normally exports.
France has said for its part that it is ready to help lift the blockade of the Ukrainian port of Odessa in order to evacuate grain blocked from Ukraine as a deadly fighting haul in southern and eastern Ukraine.
“We are at the disposal of the parties, so, basically, a move is being made to allow access to the port of Odessa under full security, that is, to allow boats to cross. The sea has been cut off,” an adviser to President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday.
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