Zelenskyy predicts a global food crisis if Ukraine can’t free its ports

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has warned of a global food crisis if the country cannot free its ports from Russian blockades.

“Russia has blocked almost all ports and all, so to speak, maritime opportunities to export food – our grain, barley, sunflower, and more. A lot of things,” Zelenskyy said Saturday. “There will be a crisis in the world. The second crisis after the energy one, which was provoked by Russia.”

“Now it will create a food crisis if we do not unblock the routes for Ukraine, do not help the countries of Africa, Europe, Asia, which need these food products,” he added.

Ukraine produces 80 million metric tonnes of grain each year and accounts for 6% of all food calories traded in the international market. The blockades are driving global hunger to “famine levels,” the UN Security Council was told at a session on Thursday.

Russian troops have targeted Russia’s east and port cities like Mariupol and Odessa.

After failing to take Kyiv, Russian forces are refocusing their efforts on the country’s east, including Odesa and Mariupol, which Russia now appears to control after Ukraine withdrew troops and said it had stopped fighting there.

Zelenskyy said that if Ukraine does not regain control of the contested southern ports. The world will face a difficult situation. The country produces a substantial amount of the global food supply. It includes between 25% and 30% of the world’s grain supply along with Russia.

According to data from the Observatory of Economic Complexity, Ukraine also accounts for 9.29% of the world’s corn supply. Russia currently has blockaded the ports of Odesa and Mariupol and the two countries continue to fight over it.

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The world has only 10 weeks’ worth of wheat left to deal with the crisis, according to Sara Menker, CEO of Gro Intelligence.

“This is seismic,” Menker said during a special meeting of the U.N. Security Council. “Even if the war were to end tomorrow, our food security problem isn’t going away anytime soon without concerted action.”

On Saturday, US President Joe Biden signed a $40 billion military and humanitarian aid packet for Ukraine. After that Zelenskyy thanked the President for in a separate address to Ukrainian citizens Saturday night.

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