Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief has called for Russia to end its blockade of Ukrainian ports. His comments come ahead of a meeting of the bloc’s 27 foreign ministers.The EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell called Russia’s blockade of key grain exports from Ukraine a “real war crime” on arrival at a EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg on Monday.
“We call on Russia to deblockade the [Ukrainian] ports… It is inconceivable, one cannot imagine that millions of tonnes of wheat remain blocked in Ukraine while in the rest of the world people are suffering hunger,” Borrell told reporters.
He accused Russia of weaponizing “the hunger of the people” and said Moscow would have to be held “accountable” for its actions.
Global food security crisis
Ukraine is one of the world’s largest exporters of key goods such as wheat and vegetable oil. The restriction of these goods from the global market — along with rising fuel prices — has sent food prices skyrocketing.
The EU has been working on solutions to get grains and other goods out of Ukraine to be exported to other countries.
The bloc has given its support to a UN plan to mediate an agreement between Russia, Ukraine and Turkey in order to allow ships to safely access Ukraine’s ports in the Black Sea.
The EU has also had to contend with claims by Russia that Western sanctions are to blame for food price hikes and shortages in Africa and the Middle East.
Borell on Monday rejected this narrative, saying: “I want to insist that it’s not the European sanctions that are creating this crisis. Our sanctions don’t target food, don’t target fertilizers.”