Russia blocks ports: Ukraine sits on millions of tons of grain and oilseeds

Despite the war, Ukraine is able to till most of its fields.

Russia blocks ports: Ukraine sits on millions of tons of grain and oilseeds

Despite the war, Ukraine is able to till most of its fields. However, the export of more than 23 million tons of grain and oilseeds is blocked by Russia. EU Commission President von der Leyen therefore accuses the Kremlin of making food part of its "arsenal of terror".

Because of the blockade of Black Sea ports by Russia, Ukraine says it cannot export more than 23 million tons of grain and oilseeds. Prime Minister Denys Schmyhal announced this on his Telegram channel. Despite the Russian war of aggression, which has been going on for more than three months, 75 percent of the previous year's areas have been cultivated. The Ministry of Agriculture is currently working on setting up mobile silos to increase storage capacity by 10 to 15 million tons.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen criticized that food had "now become part of the Kremlin's arsenal of terror". "This is a cold, callous and calculated siege by Putin against some of the most vulnerable countries and people in the world," the German politician told the European Parliament in Strasbourg. This year alone, around 275 million people are likely to be at least at high risk of food insecurity. Von der Leyen said these numbers could quickly get out of control given the prevailing inflation. "This food crisis is being fueled by Putin's war of aggression." The President of the European Commission also accused Russia of bombing grain storage facilities in Ukraine.

EU Council President Charles Michel made a similar statement: "Russia uses food as a weapon of war, steals grain, blocks ports and turns farmland into battlefields," said the Belgian in front of the EU Parliament. Michel appealed to countries affected by food crises not to believe the Russian account. Moscow blames EU sanctions for rising food prices on world markets. The EU rejects this.

Russia invaded Ukraine in February. Since then it has blocked the ports on the Black Sea, which are important for exports. The fall in Ukrainian agricultural exports has led to rising food prices in many countries. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, in the war months of March, April and May, 51 percent of Ukrainian agricultural exports were shipped out of the country by rail, 37 percent via the Ukrainian Danube ports and 11 percent by road.

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