The war in Ukraine has pushed the most vulnerable countries into a food security crisis as grain exports are blocked.
The European Union has pledged 600 million euros ($ 630 million) to help vulnerable nations overcome the food security crisis exacerbated by Russia’s war against Ukraine.
Funds include € 150 million ($ 158 million) in humanitarian aid to African, Caribbean and Pacific countries and € 350 million to promote sustainable food production in the long run.
“Russia’s aggressive war is inflicting heavy and senseless casualties not only on the Ukrainian population but also on the world’s most vulnerable,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said at the EU summit in Brussels on Monday.
“Russia is still blocking millions of tons of desperately needed grain,” she added. “To help our partners, we will mobilize an additional 600 million euros to avoid a food crisis and economic shock.
Russia and Ukraine export almost a third of the world wheat and barleymore than 70 percent of its sunflower oil and are major suppliers of corn.
The war prevented about 20 million tons of Ukrainian grain from reaching the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Asia.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) now estimates that up to 181 million people in 41 countries could face a food crisis or worsening famine this year.
And according to the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), focusing on Ukraine has led the world away 10 The “most neglected” refugee crises, all in Africa, highlighting the mismatch between aid and media coverage for different regions.
The West and Ukraine accuse Moscow of trying to pressure them into concessions by blocking the export of vital grain across the Black Sea to boost fears of global famine.
But the EU is struggling to counter the Kremlin’s claims that rising prices and deficits in the Middle East and Africa are due to sanctions imposed by Russia’s bloc.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell on Monday called Russia’s blockade a “real war crime” and warned that Moscow would be held accountable if it continued to halt exports.
The EU supports the UN’s efforts to mediate in a transaction between Ukraine, Russia and Turkey to extract the grain, but this is yet to progress. Brussels is trying to increase exports from Ukraine using rail routes, but does not have enough capacity to remove more than part of the blocked stockpiles.
The block sent military aid of 2 billion euros ($ 2.1 billion) for Ukraine during the war.