Ukraine presents plan to export more grain to poor countries
KYIV, Nov 15 (Reuters) – Ukraine wants to feed at least 5 million more people facing severe food shortages by the end of next spring, in line with proposals presented by President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to the Group of 20 on Tuesday. said a senior official.
Zelenskiy also told a G20 summit that a UN-brokered deal that eased Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian Black Sea ports should be extended indefinitely and include two more ports – Mykolaiv and Olvia.
Three ports are already included in the UN-brokered deal, which Zelenskiy says has seen Ukraine export more than 10 million tonnes of food since July. The deal is due to expire on November 19 and talks are underway to extend it.
“The right to food is a fundamental right of every person in the world,” Zelenskiy said in a video address to G20 leaders meeting in Bali.
Introducing what he called the “Grains of Ukraine” plan, he urged all countries to join “our initiative to help the poorest with food”.
Ukraine is one of the world’s biggest grain exporters and the maritime blockade that followed Russia’s invasion of the country in February has contributed to a global food crisis.
Andriy Yermak, Ukraine’s presidential staff chief, said on the Telegram messaging app that Ukraine would set aside some of the harvested wheat for partner countries to buy on behalf of African countries on the brink of famine.
“The program plans to provide grain to at least 5 million people by the end of spring 2023,” he wrote, adding that it would be implemented in partnership with the World Food Programme.
“We will not give the Russians any opportunity to create a Holodomor 2.0,” Yermak added, referring to the starvation of millions of people in what was then Soviet Ukraine in the 1930s.
He said a ship carrying 27,000 tons of wheat had already left for Ethiopia under the program and in coordination with the German government.
Reporting by Dan Peleschuk; Editing by Kirsten Donovan
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