Ninety-four ships laden with food stranded in the Black Sea, the Kremlin evaluating to be paid for the grain in rubles and the UN accusing Russia of causing a “world food crisis”. The conflict in Ukraine is not only causing prices to rise, it is also threatening to explode the supply of basic foodstuffs to many countries that were already suffering from hunger.
After the alert issued during a meeting of the UN Security Council devoted to the humanitarian situation in Ukraine, US Assistant Secretary of State Wendy Sherman denounced that there are 94 civilian supply ships arrested by the Russians in the Black Sea region, hence around 30% of world wheat exports, 20% corn and 75% sunflower oil. “The Russian Navy is blocking access to Ukrainian ports, effectively blocking the export of grain,” Sherman said. Three other ships carrying goods around the world, chartered from a farm, were reportedly bombed instead. And many exporters would have given up sending their cargoes to the Black Sea, or even to Russian ports. “Food prices are already skyrocketing in low- and middle-income countries as Russia chokes off Ukrainian exports. Throughout the Middle East and Africa, the already high prices of basic raw materials, including wheat, have increased by 20 to 50% this year,” denounced the deputy secretary of state, particularly concerned about countries like the Lebanon, Pakistan, Libya. , Tunisia, Yemen and Morocco, which depend heavily on Ukrainian imports to feed their populations. Figures provided by the Director of the World Food Programme, David Beasley, help to better understand the devastating impact of the war on the world food question: the World Food Program alone bought from Ukraine 50% of its stocks of cereals with which it fed 125 million people. of people before the invasion. The risk of famine hanging over countries with fewer resources was also at the heart of the G7 and EU summits in Brussels last week. Also yesterday, Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese, during a hearing at the Schengen Committee, warned of the “probable food crisis caused by the conflict since countries like Tunisia import wheat from Ukraine and Russia “. And how does Moscow react to all this? Fearing the possibility of demanding, as it has already done for gas and oil, payment for grain in roubles. It was Duma spokesman Vyacheslav Volodin who speculated that the list of products exported in rubles could be expanded, also including wheat. As for accusations of Russia’s alleged role in the global food crisis, it was Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov who dismissed them as the sender, pointing out that Sherman’s remarks are “just a part of information warfare”. of Washington against Russia”.