The sooner Russia unblocks Ukraine's seaports, the sooner the food crisis in the world will stop. This was stated by President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy during an online meeting at the Foreign Policy Community of Indonesia think tank.
“Russia has blocked access to our ports in the Black Sea and occupied our part of the Sea of Azov. As a result of this military blockade, most traditional Ukrainian trade routes have been closed. Currently, 22 million tons of grain in Ukraine are in storage facilities. We cannot direct them to the world market, where they are needed right now, at this time,” the Head of State noted.
According to the President, it has already affected the prices for grain, and soon will affect the prices for other food products, which could rise catastrophically. The governments of food-exporting countries have to adopt decisions to suspend the export of certain agricultural products from their countries to somehow keep domestic prices from explosive growth and protect their own consumption.
“According to the UN, this year the world's hunger will affect an additional 40-50 million people. I consider such an assessment conservative. Hunger does not come alone. It is always accompanied by political chaos, which further aggravates the situation, destroys social life and creates even more dangerous conditions for ordinary people,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy emphasized.
According to him, the growth of food prices is a harbinger of poverty for the poor and impoverishment for the middle class if we do not take measures to change the current situation.
“Just imagine the political chaos this could end with in certain regions,” the Head of State added,
According to him, Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports is a kind of example for other potential aggressors who want to conquer neighbors or take away their territory.
“If Russia manages to go unpunished with this in the war against Ukraine, other states will see that the naval blockade is a supposedly permissible instrument of pressure in the modern world. Consequently, none of the trade routes at sea and no country will be safe after that,” the President stressed.
Answering the audience's questions, the Head of State said that many countries will run out of last year's harvest stockpiles in July, and a crisis similar to the one in Europe's energy sector last year may arise in the autumn.
“The sooner this war can be ended, the better it will be for each nation. Not just for us. The sooner our ports are unblocked, the sooner the food crisis will stop, because we will be able to send our stocks and new crops to the world market,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
He expressed hope that, in particular, the G20 summit would find a way to stop the unfolding of both the food crisis and the war in general.