Conflicts & War

EU calls on Russia to end blockade on Ukrainian food exports

Brussels, May 31 (EFE).- The European Union has called on Russia to end its blockade on Ukrainian exports amid a looming global food crisis.

In a joint statement following a meeting in Brussels on Tuesday, the EU leaders “strongly condemned the destruction and illegal appropriation by Russia of agricultural production in Ukraine.”

“The Russian war of aggression against Ukraine is having a direct impact on global food security and affordability.

“The European Council calls on Russia to end its attacks on transport infrastructure in Ukraine, to lift the blockade of Ukrainian Black Sea ports and to allow food exports, in particular from Odesa.”

In a press conference, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said that 20 million tons of wheat were “stuck in Ukraine.”

She added that the EU was working on so-called “solidarity lanes” to get parts of this wheat out of the country via land routes.

The Commission president added that the bloc had pledged 2.5 billion euros (about $2.6bn) would mobilize reserves from the European Development Fund to help poorer nations, such as those in sub-Saharan Africa, purchase the exports.

Ukrainian officials have accused Russia of stealing Ukrainian crops in the areas it occupies.

Moscow-backed occupation officials in the Ukrainian region of Kherson on Monday said they would begin to sell grain from the previous harvest to Russia via Crimea, which was annexed by the Kremlin in 2014.


Von der Leyen also on Tuesday announced a string of defense proposals, including measures to replenish stocks sent to Ukraine, streamline weapon procurement and boost interoperability between nations.

“When we replenish the military material that has been sent to Ukraine, it is important that this is coordinated,” the German politician said.

“For that we’re setting up a taskforce to coordinate, also to deconflict, the replenishment of the national stockpiles and the Commission will propose by the end of June to mobilize 500 million euros (around $536 million) over the next two years from the EU budget to incentivize the joint procurement by at least three member states.” EFE


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