President of Ukraine

Zelenskyy opens first international summit to implement Grain from Ukraine program initiated by Ukraine, designed to help countries suffering from hunger

26 November 2022 - 17:57

Zelenskyy opens first international summit to implement Grain from Ukraine program initiated by Ukraine, designed to help countries suffering from hunger

The International Summit on Food Security was held in Kyiv with the participation of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, which kicks off the Grain from Ukraine humanitarian program initiated by the Head of State.

This program provides for purchase of foodstuffs from Ukrainian producers by partners and sending them to countries in Africa and Asia that are on the brink of famine. This will make it possible to organize international support for Ukrainian agriculture, protect cultivated areas, support production, enhance supply chains, and find international customers who can guarantee the purchase of Ukrainian foodstuffs.

Representatives of almost 30 countries and international organizations attended the summit live and online. The event was moderated by Andriy Yermak, the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, Head of the working group for the preparation of proposals for providing assistance to countries suffering from an acute food crisis.

In his opening address, Zelenskyy emphasized that Ukraine has traditionally been one of the largest exporters of food in the world.

"This year, unfortunately, is different. Russian troops surrounded Ukrainian ports. They blocked the export of our food. They put the world on the brink of starvation. They provoked a food crisis. The rapid increase in the price of products undermines the economic security of ordinary people, the well-being of millions of families, domestic stability and regional security. Mass protests due to rising food, fertilizer, and fuel prices threaten many countries and societies," the President said.

The Head of State said that Ukraine well remembers what hunger is, because during the Holodomor, which was staged against Ukrainians by the totalitarian Stalinist regime in 1932-1933, according to various estimates, from four to eight million people perished. According to him, our state will make every effort to prevent such a thing from happening again in any country in the world. He urged the participants of the summit to do everything possible to prevent the spread of the food crisis.

"Our goal is ambitious and specific – to save at least 5 million people from hunger. On this path, Ukraine has already taken the first steps – sent the first ships. In the middle of November – 27,000 tonnes of wheat for Ethiopia. Another vessel is being loaded today. And this is another 30,000 tonnes of wheat for people in Ethiopia. Three more vessels are currently going to the ports of Ukraine for loading. They will deliver more than 80,000 tonnes of food wheat to the countries that need it the most," Zelenskyy said.

He said that at least 60 ships are planned to be sent from Ukrainian ports by the end of next spring under the Grain from Ukraine program.

"Ukraine, as one of the guarantors of global food security, will continue making its key contribution. Despite the war. Despite any challenges. Ukraine will fulfill its export obligations regarding the supply of grain and other foodstuffs to the global market," the President said.

The Head of State said that on the day of its launch, 20 countries joined Grain From Ukraine, and invited other countries and socially responsible businesses to join this program.

The President also suggested creating a new international institution with headquarters in Kyiv or Odesa, which will become a new effective and efficient tool to prevent to global crises and quickly respond to them.

"I am sure, we will be able to achieve results and overcome all threats only united, only together. We can win only together. Ukraine and the civilized world without war, without terrorism, without hunger," Zelenskyy said.

President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen in a video message declared her full support for the Grain from Ukraine initiative of the Head of the Ukrainian State. According to her, this is a significant contribution to guaranteeing food security in the world and a manifestation of solidarity with those who need such help. The continuation of the Black Sea Grain Initiative is also important.

"This sends a very strong signal to the whole world that we will not leave our partners without help," von der Leyen said.

French President Emmanuel Macron said that Russia's aggressive war against Ukraine has destabilized supply chains and threatens the world with a food crisis.

"While we decided to act in solidarity with the most vulnerable countries, Russia continues using hunger as a tool of influence and as a weapon in this war," he is convinced.

Macron welcomed Zelenskyy's Grain from Ukraine initiative, which, in his opinion, reflects the courage of the Ukrainian people. The French president announced that his country is providing funds to help the World Food Programme deliver 25,000 tonnes of wheat from Ukraine to Somalia, as well as additional funding for the transportation and distribution of Ukrainian grain to Yemen and Sudan.

Federal Chancellor of Germany Olaf Scholz is convinced that famine must never again be used as a weapon.

He emphasized that Germany is pleased to participate in the Grain From Ukraine initiative and continues to support the provision of food aid to the countries most affected by the food crisis. In particular, according to him, Germany will allocate funding for further supplies of grain from Ukraine in coordination with the UN World Food Programme.

Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Samantha Power said in a video message that, facing the brutal aggression of the Russian Federation today, Ukraine demonstrates that it remains a generous state.

"The United States is honored to play a role in President Zelenskyy's $20 million initiative to deliver grain to people who need it most during the worst food crisis the world has seen in generations," Power said.

UN Secretary General António Guterres thanked the President of Ukraine and the Ukrainian people for their role in the Black Sea Grain Initiative, which will contribute to the safe export of food products.

"We will support the operation of the joint coordination center to continue the free and unhindered operation of this initiative," he said.

For his part, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that 90 years ago the Soviet Union caused the terrible Holodomor, during which millions of Ukrainians perished, and today Russia is again using hunger as a tool in war and trying to create instability in the world.

"I strongly support the efforts of Ukraine and the international community to preserve supplies through the Black Sea. This is critically important," he said.

The NATO Secretary General said that the food crisis was not caused by international sanctions against the Russian Federation, but by Russia's reckless war against Ukraine. He emphasized that the members of the Alliance are providing unprecedented financial, humanitarian and defense support to Ukraine to help it win as a sovereign independent state, and will support as much as needed.

The summit was also attended by: Prime Minister of the Republic of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki, President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö, President of the Republic of Latvia Egils Levits, President of the Republic of Estonia Alar Karis, President of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor, President of the Republic of Bulgaria Rumen Radev, President of Hungary Katalin Novák, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Belgium Alexander De Croo, Prime Minister of the Republic of Lithuania Ingrida Šimonytė, Prime Minister of Croatia Andrej Plenković, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Mark Rutte, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Sweden Ulf Kristersson, Prime Minister of Romania Nicolae Ciucă, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar Sheikh Mohammed Al-Thani, Minister of International Development of Canada Harjit S. Sajjan, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Thérèse Coffey, Minister for European and International Affairs of the Republic of Austria Alexander Schallenberg, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Italian Republic Antonio Tajani, Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of the Kingdom of Spain José Manuel Albares Bueno, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Jan Lipavský, Director General of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation Patricia Danzi.