GERMANY—Group of Seven advanced economies warn that the war in Ukraine is stoking a global food and energy crisis which threatens poor countries, and urgent measures are needed to unblock stores of grain that Russia is preventing from leaving Ukraine.
After a meeting in Germany, senior diplomats from the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, the United States and the European Union pledged to keep their military and defense assistance for “as long as necessary.”
“Russia’s war of aggression has generated one of the most severe food and energy crises in recent history which now threatens those most vulnerable across the globe,” the group said.
They said urgent measures are needed to unblock stores of grain that Russia is preventing from leaving Ukraine and which accounts for a sizeable share of the worldwide supply.
An estimated 25 million tons of grain has been prevented from leaving ports in Ukraine. The blockage is particularly affecting countries in the Middle East and Africa.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said the G7 would work on finding logistical solutions to get vital commodities out of Ukraine storage before the next harvests.
Additionally, Canada’s foreign minister, Melanie Joly, said her country, another major agricultural exporter, stands ready to send ships to European ports so Ukrainian grain can be brought to those in need.
Russia, on the other hand, dismissed the claim that it was responsible for worsening global hunger and driving up food prices.
According to Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, “Prices are rising because of sanctions imposed by the West under pressure of the USA.”
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said his country remains willing to talk to Russia about unblocking grain supplies stuck in Ukraine’s silos and about reaching a political agreement to end the war itself, but had so far received “no positive feedback” from Moscow.
The group said that phasing out purchases of Russian oil and coal is key to the efforts to put pressure on Moscow to end the war.
“We will expedite our efforts to reduce and end reliance on Russian energy supplies and as quickly as possible,” the statement said.
EU member states are expected to reach an agreement next week on ending the bloc’s importation of Russian oil next week, despite opposition from EU member Hungary.
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