Food crisis: the EU accused Russia of misinforming and demanded that it allow the export of Ukrainian grains

Ursula von der Leyen (REUTERS/Johanna Geron) (JOHANNA GERON/)

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen stressed on Tuesday that Russia is the “only” cause of the global food crisis unleashed with the invasion of Ukraineuntil recently the “barn” of the world, and accused Moscow of “misinforming” by blaming the Twenty-seven for the origin of the crisis.

Accusing the EU of causing food insecurity is “Total misinformation on the part of Russia. The only reason we have a food crisis is because of the brutal and unjustified war against Ukraine.” said the president of the EC at a press conference at the end of the two-day European summit held in Brussels.

Von der Leyen insisted that Moscow is the only cause of the crisis, since in addition to “block exports, bomb silos and mine fields where crops could be grown.”

He also recalled that the Twenty-seven have agreed to exclude agri-food products, including fertilizers, from sanctions against Moscow that many third countries are buying from Russia.

The food crisis, which threatens to cause famine in vulnerable countries, especially in Africa, was one of the issues discussed by the EU heads of state or government at the summit.

The President of the African Union (AU), the Senegalese, participated in it by videoconference. Macky Sall, who detailed the most urgent needs of African countries and assured that the AU will work with the Twenty-seven to seek solutions to the crisis.

Although the European Council demanded that Russia lift the blockade of Ukrainian Black Sea ports and allow food exports, particularly from Odessa, the Twenty-seven are aware of the difficulty of this objective, on which the UN is also working.

Before the war, Ukraine was one of the world's leading grain exporters (REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko)
Ukraine was before the war one of the world’s leading grain exporters (REUTERS / Valentyn Ogirenko) (Valentyn Ogirenko /)

Thus, They focus above all for the moment on developing the “solidarity routes” proposed by Brussels to transport grain by road and rail.

The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, said at a press conference that The EU “will spare no effort to free Ukraine’s exports by land and explore alternative sea routes.”

Russia “is using food as a weapon of war” by destroying crops, blocking tons of grain and risking the possibility of a global faminel, Michel pointed out.

“We fully support the UN efforts to open maritime corridors in the Black Sea, it would be the best option, but we don’t know if it will be possible. That is why we work (…) in solidarity routes to facilitate alternative routes and we talk about different possibilities”, he added.

The Italian Prime Minister, Mario Draghi said at the end of the meeting that the EU seeks to “organize transport by rail”, something that “is easier than freeing the ports”although the possibilities of transporting grain are “much less important”.

For his part, during the meeting the Prime Minister of BulgariaKiril Petkov offered the Black Sea port of Varna as an option to help Ukraine export its grain.

Another option would be passing through Belarus to take out Ukrainian exports although it does not seem to be one of the preferred alternatives.

The President of the European Council recalled that the EU has also agreed to sanctions against Belarus and that it maintains pressure on this country because “it helps Russia a lot”.

The two-day European summit held in Brussels (REUTERS / Johanna Geron)
The two-day European summit held in Brussels (REUTERS / Johanna Geron) (JOHANNA GERON /)

Von der Leyen pointed out, on the other hand, the need to avoid global restrictions on agricultural trade and to develop strategies to improve production in the regions that may be most affected by food insecurity, particularly in Africa.

Before the war, Ukraine was one of the world’s leading grain exporters. and their wares were critical to the food security of areas such as the Middle East and North Africa.

Most of Ukraine’s food goods used to move from the former Soviet republic to the rest of the world through Black Sea ports, but Russia has blocked them.

“The European Council calls on Russia to end its attacks on transport infrastructure in Ukraine, lift the blockade of Ukrainian Black Sea ports and allow food exports, in particular from Odessa,” declare the leaders in the conclusions adopted on the second day of the summit held today in Brussels.

Leaders “strongly condemn Russia’s illegal appropriation and destruction of agricultural production in Ukraine” They add that the “Russian war of aggression against Ukraine” is having “a direct impact on global food security and affordability.”

Macron proposed to Putin a resolution in the UN to lift the blockade of Odessa

Emmanuel Macron (REUTERS/Johanna Geron)
Emmanuel Macron (REUTERS/Johanna Geron) (JOHANNA GERON/)

french president Emmanuel Macron announced on Tuesday that he has proposed to his counterpart Vladimir Putin to vote for a resolution at the UN to lift the Russian blockade of the port of Odessa and make it possible to export the Ukrainian grain blocked there.

“I proposed, in the discussion we had with [el jefe de gobierno alemán] Olaf Scholz last Saturday, to President Putin that we take the initiative of a resolution in the United Nations to give a very clear framework to this operation”, he said after a European summit in Brussels.

Nowadays Russia imposes a blockade on Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea, in particular Odessaand some 20 million tons of grain stored in silos throughout the country are blocked.

“The decision depends on an agreement from Russia and the guarantees it offers: in the face of demining [del puerto de Odessa, serán necesarias] security guarantees provided to Ukrainians to prevent them from being attacked,” Macron noted.

The Ukrainian government needs “legitimate security guarantees, and it is the United Nations framework that will allow us to do so,” he added.

Macron highlighted the “important role of Turkey, given its responsibility in the Black Sea” and its contacts with Moscow.

(With information from EFE and AFP)

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