The EU has called Russia a blockade of Ukrainian grain for a war crime

The Black Sea blockade, which prevents Ukraine from exporting food and other goods, is a “war crime” and Russia will be held accountable if it continues, European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell Fonteles said on Monday.

Ukraine was a major exporter of grain, cooking oil and fertilizers before the Russian invasion in February, but the blockade – along with Russia’s seizure of Ukrainian agricultural land and the destruction of agricultural infrastructure – led to a collapse in Ukraine’s exports. The latest blow came on Monday when Ukrainian regional authorities said a Russian missile strike in Odessa had burned a food logistics warehouse.

The decline in exports has contributed to the rise in global food prices, exacerbated by growing demand as the global economy emerges from the pandemic. The United Nations has warned of starvation or even famine in some countries as a result, especially in Africa.

“You can’t use people’s hunger as a weapon of war,” he said. Borel said after arriving in Luxembourg for a meeting of EU foreign ministers. “Millions of tons of wheat remain blocked in Ukraine, while the rest of the world is starving. This is a real war crime, so I can’t imagine it lasting much longer.

The President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky did the same in the remote control appeal to the African Union on Monday. Moscow has deep ties with many African countries that have been are reluctant to criticize the invasion.

“If it weren’t for the Russian war against Ukraine, there simply wouldn’t be a shortage in the food market. said Zelensky. “If it weren’t for the Russian war, our farmers and agricultural companies would have provided record harvests this year.

However, Moscow’s naval dominance in the Black Sea gives it considerable diplomatic leverage. Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he will lift the blockade if sanctions imposed by Western and other governments over the war are lifted.

The European Union, the United States and others are working to improve land routes for exports from Ukraine, but Mr. Zelenski said that “much less volume can be delivered on new routes and it takes much longer.”

“We are conducting complex multi-stage negotiations to unblock our Ukrainian ports,” he told the African Union. “But you can see that there is still no progress, because no real tool has yet been found to ensure that Russia does not attack them again.”

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