Marcus Brandt / AP
WEISSENHAUS, Germany – The group of seven leading economies warned on Saturday that the war in Ukraine is triggering a global food and energy crisis that threatens poor countries and that urgent measures are needed to remove the blockade of grain stocks, which Russia prevents from leaving Ukraine.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, who hosted a meeting of top G-7 diplomats, said the war had become a “global crisis.”
She said up to 50 million people, particularly in Africa and the Middle East, would face starvation in the coming months unless there are ways to release Ukrainian grain, which accounts for a significant portion of the worldwide supply.
In statements released at the end of the three-day meeting on Germany’s Baltic coast, the G-7 promised to provide additional humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable.
“Russia’s war of aggression has generated one of the most serious food and energy crises in recent history, now threatening the most vulnerable across the globe,” the group said.
“We are determined to accelerate a coordinated multilateral response in order to preserve global food security and stand by our most vulnerable partners in this regard,” it added.
Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said her country, another major agricultural exporter, is ready to send ships to European ports so that Ukrainian grain can be brought to those in need.
“We need to make sure these grains are sent to the world,” she told reporters. “If not, millions of people will face famine.”
Russia rejected the claim that it was responsible for exacerbating global hunger and driving up food prices.
“Prices are rising because of sanctions imposed by the West under pressure from the United States,” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. “If one does not understand this, it is either a sign of stupidity or deliberate deception of the public.”
The G-7 nations also called on China not to help Russia, including by undermining international sanctions or justifying Moscow’s actions in Ukraine.
Beijing should support Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence and not “assist Russia in its war of aggression,” they said.
The G-7 called on China “to refrain from engaging in information manipulation, misinformation and other means to legitimize Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.”
The group, which includes Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, also reiterated its position that the territories seized by Russian forces should be returned to Ukraine.
“We will never recognize borders that Russia has tried to change by military aggression,” they said.
The meeting in Weissenhaus, northeast of Hamburg, was seen as an opportunity for officials to discuss the war’s broader consequences for geopolitics, energy and food security, and ongoing international efforts to tackle climate change and the pandemic.
In a series of concluding statements, the G-7 nations also addressed a wide range of global issues from the situation in Afghanistan to tensions in the Middle East.
On Friday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba appealed to friendly countries to provide more military support to Kiev and increase pressure on Russia, including by seizing its assets abroad to pay for the reconstruction of Ukraine.
Kuleba said his country remains willing to talk to Russia about removing blockages of grain supplies stuck in Ukraine’s silos, and also about reaching a political agreement to end the war itself, but has so far not received “any positive feedback “from Moscow.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in an interview published Saturday that he had not noticed any change in Putin’s position recently.
Scholz, who spoke at length on the phone with the Russian leader on Friday, told the German news portal t-online that Putin had failed to achieve the military goals he set at the beginning of the war, while losing more Russian soldiers than the Soviet Union did. below. its year-long campaign in Afghanistan.
“Putin should slowly begin to understand that the only way out of this situation is through an agreement with Ukraine,” Scholz was quoted as saying.
One idea discussed at the G-7 meeting was whether Russian state assets frozen abroad can be used to pay for the reconstruction of Ukraine.
“Russia is responsible for the massive damage that results from this war,” Baerbock said. “And that’s why it’s a matter of justice that Russia should pay for this damage.”
But she added that unlike in Canada – where legislation allows seized funds to be recycled – the legal basis for doing so in Germany is uncertain.
“But that’s exactly what such meetings are for, to have an exchange on how to resolve these legal issues,” Baerbock said.
Many of the foreign ministers traveled directly to an informal meeting of NATO diplomats in Berlin on Saturday and Sunday.
This session will consider actions by Finland and Sweden to join the military alliance in the light of concerns about the threat posed by Russia, as well as ways in which NATO can support Ukraine without being drawn into the conflict.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was unable to attend the G-7 meeting after recovering from a COVID-19 infection, was expected at the NATO rally.
G7 warns of Ukraine’s grain crisis, asks China not to help Russia: NPR
Source link G7 warns of Ukraine’s grain crisis, asks China not to help Russia: NPR