Following the first International Summit on Food Security with regard to the implementation of the Ukrainian humanitarian initiative Grain from Ukraine, about $150 million, which will be used to purchase food for countries in Africa and Asia suffering from hunger, have been raised. This was announced by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy while talking to media representatives following the summit in Kyiv.
"The essence of our new humanitarian initiative is very simple, transparent, very important. We plan to send at least 60 ships from Ukrainian ports to the countries most affected by the food crisis and that are in need of urgent aid. These are countries such as Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Congo, Kenya, Yemen and others," the Head of State said.
According to the President, the Grain from Ukraine initiative emphasizes the importance of food security and the global role of Ukraine and its partners in guaranteeing this security.
"I would like to remind you that food security is one of the elements of the Ukrainian peace formula. Peace for the whole world. Russian aggression hit our people, all the nations of Europe and many nations of the world. Therefore, our humanitarian initiative Grain from Ukraine, together with the current export grain initiative, is an absolutely timely and powerful response to the threat created by Russia. I believe that our joint response – Ukraine's and our partners' – will be enough to defuse the food crisis and save millions of people from hunger, and therefore dozens of countries – from social chaos," Zelenskyy said.
The President reported that today more than 20 states and the European Union are financially participating in this initiative, and more than ten states are preparing to join it. He offered the partners of Ukraine to choose the form of participation in the program that would meet the existing conditions themselves.
"Our diplomats and partners will work constantly to expand the circle of participants of the initiative. Now, we are already casting up the money. To date, at the first inaugural summit, we have raised about $150 million," the Head of State said.
Zelenskyy also said that today, based on the results of the summit, a Joint Statement was adopted, which is open to the accession of other states during the entire period of operation of the Grain from Ukraine initiative.
According to him, global security and protection of people are not empty words for Ukraine, because our country knows well what hunger is. It is today that the memory of the victims of the Holodomor – the genocide committed by the Kremlin, which took the lives of millions of Ukrainians in 1932-1933 – is honored.
"Our people remember this terrible silence, which was precisely in those years – 1932-1933. Now, we must do everything possible to save as many people as possible and restore as many elements of global security as possible. We must deprive Russia of this weapon – a weapon called hunger," the President said.
Zelenskyy thanked the leaders who came to Kyiv to personally participate in the first International Summit on Food Security: President of Hungary Katalin Novák, Prime Minister of Belgium Alexander De Croo, Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki and Prime Minister of Lithuania Ingrida Šimonytė, as well as all the leaders of states and international organizations who joined the event online.
"I also personally thank UN Secretary General António Guterres and President of Türkiye Erdoğan for their effective participation in protecting the grain export initiative, which has already become one of the important global guarantees of stability," the Head of State said.
"All of us together demonstrate that the elements of the Ukrainian peace formula are completely rational and can be implemented in the interests of Ukraine, the whole of Europe and the whole world," Zelenskyy said.
For his part, the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Belgium said that his country supports the Grain from Ukraine initiative and is proud to be able to join it. He highly appreciated Ukraine's contribution to protecting the world's food security at a time when it itself is suffering from Russia's aggression.
"You have demonstrated that in difficult times, the only way to overcome these challenges is through unity. Together we will be able to overcome these difficulties," De Croo said.
Novák said that Hungary supports various programs and initiatives, including Grain from Ukraine, within the framework of which it undertook to ensure the transportation of 10,000 tonnes of grain.
She also emphasized: the responsibility of the President of the Russian Federation for the war in Ukraine is obvious, and Hungarians have always opposed this bloodshed.
"We are neighbors with Ukraine, and our neighbors can count on our help. 2022 was a year of war. Let's hope that 2023 will be a year of peace and reconstruction," Novák said.
Morawiecki said that the grain export blockade is an attempt by Russia to cause a famine in the whole world seeking that its conditions are met. He emphasized the inadmissibility of returning to doing business with Russia, especially after its attacks on the civil infrastructure of Ukraine.
The head of the Polish government called President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's Grain from Ukraine initiative very generous, because Ukraine is suffering from the Russian invasion and at the same time is ready to help other countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia that are in a difficult situation.
"Of course, we want to support this initiative, that's why we are providing EUR 20 million," he said, adding that Poland will never stop helping Ukrainians in their heroic struggle against the barbaric Russian regime.
Šimonytė said that she appreciates the chance to be in Kyiv on this day and personally honor the memory of millions of victims of the Holodomor – the genocide of the Ukrainian people committed by the Stalinist regime, which created a series of artificial famines.
She called it symbolic that Zelenskyy gathered leaders today to launch the Grain from Ukraine initiative.
"Lithuania, together with other countries, joins this initiative so that there is bread in every family in Africa or Asia, and also to provide assistance to those farmers who continue sowing and harvesting," Šimonytė said.
The Prime Minister of Lithuania reminded that her country had warned the world that Russia would again use grain and food to push Ukraine to lay down its arms or to force partners start influencing Ukraine in some way so that it would agree to negotiations on Russian terms. She believes that uncertainty and insecurity will remain until the moment Ukraine regains control over its territory.
"Today's event can also serve as an opportunity to spread information about the tragic events of the famine. Perhaps many people in the world have not heard about it. But the most important message is that the only long-term solution to the food problem is the final victory of Ukraine. That is why we must and will provide weapons assistance to Ukraine so that it can quickly secure victory," Šimonytė said.