Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy hosted a summit in Kiev on Saturday with allied nations to launch a plan to export $150 million worth of grain to countries most vulnerable to famine and drought.
The “Grain from Ukraine” initiative showed that global food security was “not empty words” for Kiev, he said.
The Kremlin says food exported from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports under a UN-brokered plan has failed to reach the most vulnerable countries.
Zelenskiy said Kiev had raised $150 million from more than 20 countries and the European Union to export grain to countries such as Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia and Yemen.
“We plan to send at least 60 ships from Ukrainian ports to countries most threatened by famine and drought,” Zelenskiy told the meeting.
The summit was personally attended by the Prime Ministers of Belgium, Poland and Lithuania and the President of Hungary. The presidents of Germany and France and the head of the European Commission gave video speeches.
A joint statement after the summit said that since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, the world has received 10 million fewer tons of agricultural products than in the same period in 2021.
“This means that the food security of millions of people around the world is under serious threat,” it said, blaming a Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports earlier in the conflict.
“We are confident that together we will overcome the serious humanitarian and economic consequences of the global food crisis caused by Russia’s aggressive war against Ukraine,” it said.
The gathering coincided with Ukraine’s annual day of remembrance for Holodomor, the Stalin-era man-made famine that killed millions of Ukrainians in the winter of 1932-33.
In a video address, French President Emmanuel Macron announced a contribution of 6 million euros ($6.24 million) for the World Food Program’s transportation and distribution of Ukrainian grain to Yemen and Sudan.
“The most vulnerable countries should not pay the price of a war they did not want,” he said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by DailyExpertNews staff and is being published from a syndicated feed.)
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