This was stated by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in his address to the participants in the International Conference on Global Food Security.
"A few weeks ago, President Putin promised that it would be possible to export grain from Ukraine, primarily by sea. But such a promise is worthless if it’s not fulfilled," said the head of the German government.
Russia, he said, must help facilitate exports and eventually start engaging with the UN.
Scholz urged everyone not to reduce political pressure on those responsible in Moscow, who could easily pass appropriate decisions. "We are also talking about global solidarity," the politician said.
Citing data from the UN Food Program, Scholz said 323 million people may find themselves on a brink of survival due to food shortage, which is "hard to imagine." Of these, 47 million are those who joined the group because of the Russian war in Ukraine, the chancellor said.
He noted that while children, the elderly, and the sick are dying in many parts of the African continent, Ukrainians cannot reap the harvest in many parts of the country because of the ongoing war. At the same time, there are millions of tonnes of priceless grain stuck in ports and silos on the Black Sea, waiting to be exported. Meanwhile, millions of farmers around the world are unable to buy fuel and fertilizers due to high prices.
"Russia is the only one responsible for this escalation," Scholz said, adding that humanity is facing the worst famine in decades.
The countries within the Global Crisis Response Group, initiated by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, are trying to find solidarity and comprehensive solutions to the problem, the German head of government said. Intensive negotiations are underway with the UN, the EU, Ukraine, Turkey, and Russia in order to resume Ukrainian exports of agricultural products through ports as soon as possible. In parallel lines, work is underway to establish other transport routes – by rail and road. Together with the World Bank, the Global Alliance for Food Security was launched, under which Germany pledged an additional EUR 430 million for food security. Scholz invited everyone to join the initiative.
On the eve of this weekend's G7 summit, its host promised all of the world's famine-stricken people: "We will make sure that your lives don’t become a ball in the game of cynical interests of those in power!"
At a conference on June 24 in Berlin, the federal government will work to ensure that other donors also make binding commitments in the coming weeks, but no concrete promises of financial assistance are expected to be sealed at the Berlin conference as it is not a donor event.
For years, the German federal government was the world’s second largest donor after the United States. This year alone, Germany is investing about EUR 4 billion in humanitarian food aid and food crisis systems.
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