Zelensky calls for an end to the Russian blockade of Black Sea ports

Zelensky calls for an end to the Russian blockade of Black Sea ports

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called on Saturday for international pressure to end Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, allowing exports needed to avert a global food crisis.

Speaking via video link to the Asia-Pacific Security Forum Shangri-La Dialogue, he warned that unless Ukrainian exports resume, “the world will face an acute food crisis, even famine, in many countries in Asia and Africa.”

“Food shortages will inevitably lead to political chaos”

Ukraine, before the Russian invasion, was the world’s largest producer of sunflower oil and one of the main exporters of wheat, and millions of tons of grain are currently blocked, unable to be exported due to the Russian blockade.

The United Nations and some countries are pressing for the opening of a sea lane that would allow the resumption of Ukrainian exports.

“Food shortages will relentlessly lead to political chaos that threatens to topple many governments,” he told delegates in Singapore for the summit, including Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin and China’s defense minister.

France, ready to help

Kyiv is currently in talks with the United Nations, Turkey and other countries to open such a corridor to allow the export of grain, and for his part, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met this week in Ankara with his Turkish counterpart on this matter, but there was no progress. Until now.

Volodymyr Zelensky said that Ukraine currently exports 2 million tons of grain by train every month, but this is still much less than it usually exports.

For its part, France said it was ready to help lift the blockade of the Ukrainian port of Odessa, in order to get the banned grain out of Ukraine as the bloody fighting intensified in southern and eastern Ukraine.

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“We are at the disposal of the parties so that, essentially, a process is implemented that allows access to the port of Odessa in complete safety, that is, we can allow the boats to pass despite the fact that the sea is mined,” an adviser to President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday.

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