Ukraine: G7 warns of grain crisis, asks China not to aid Russia


The Group of Seven of the world’s top economies warned on Saturday that the war in Ukraine is causing a global food and energy crisis that threatens poor countries, and urgent measures are needed to prevent them. grain stockpile that Russia is preventing from leaving Ukraine.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, who chaired a meeting of top G7 diplomats, said the war had become a “global crisis”.

Baerbock said up to 50 million people, particularly in Africa and the Middle East, will face starvation in the coming months unless a way is found to free Ukraine’s grain, which accounts for a significant portion of the worldwide supply. gender.

In a statement released at the end of a three-day meeting on Germany’s Baltic coast, the G7 pledged to provide further humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable.

“Russia’s war of aggression has created one of the most severe food and energy crises in recent history, now threatening the most vulnerable people globally,” the group said. .

“We are determined to accelerate a coordinated multilateral response to maintain global food security and stand with our most vulnerable partners in this regard,” it added.

Canada’s Foreign Minister, Melanie Joly, said her country, another major agricultural exporter, is ready to send ships to European ports so Ukraine’s grain can be delivered to those in need.

“We need to make sure these grains are sent around the world,” she told reporters. “Otherwise, millions of people will face starvation.”

The G7 nations also urged 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, not “support Russia in its war of aggression”, they said.

The G7, which includes Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, also called on China to “not engage in activities of information manipulation, disinformation and other means to legitimize Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.”

The meeting in Weissenhaus, northeast of Hamburg, was seen as an opportunity for officials to discuss the broader implications of the war on geopolitics, energy and food security, and efforts. ongoing international action to address climate change and pandemics.

In a series of closing statements, the G7 countries also addressed a range of global issues, from the situation in Afghanistan to tensions in the Middle East.

On Friday, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called on friendly countries to provide more military support for Kyiv and increase pressure on Russia, including by seizing its assets abroad to pay for the war. Ukraine reconstruction.

Kuleba said his country was still open to talking with Russia about unblocking grain supplies trapped in Ukrainian silos and about reaching a political agreement to end the war, but So far “no positive response” has been received from Moscow.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in an interview published Saturday that he has not detected any change in Putin’s stance recently.

Scholz, who spoke by 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 start of the war while lost more Russian soldiers than the Soviet Union during that time. its decade-long campaign in Afghanistan.

“Putin should gradually begin to understand that the only way out of this situation is through an agreement with Ukraine,” Scholz said.

One idea discussed at the G7 meeting was whether Russian state assets frozen abroad could be used to pay for the reconstruction of Ukraine.

“Russia is responsible for the enormous damage caused by this war,” Baerbock said. “And that’s why Russia should pay for this damage is a question of justice.”

But she added that, unlike in Canada – where the law allows for the reuse of seized funds – the legal basis for doing so in Germany is uncertain.

“But it’s precisely these kinds of meetings that are meant to talk about how to address these legal questions,” Baerbock said.

Multiple foreign ministers will attend an informal meeting of NATO diplomats in Berlin on Saturday and Sunday.

That meeting will examine the moves of Finland and Sweden to join the military alliance amid concerns about the threat from Russia, as well as ways in which NATO can assist Ukraine without being drawn into it. conflict.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was unable to attend the G7 meeting after recovering from COVID-19, is expected to be present at the NATO meeting.

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