Russia has left a path of destruction throughout Ukraine since Vladimir Putin gave the go-ahead for more than 100,000 troops to invade its neighbour exactly three months ago today. Explosions have destroyed several major cities, with millions of terrified Ukrainians fleeing the country in fear of Putin’s brutal regime. The European Union has warned Russia appears to have dramatically stepped up its attack on its neighbour.
A Commission paper on global food security for EU agriculture ministers gathering in Brussels today warns: “Food security in warn-torn Ukraine is of great concern, particularly as Russia seems to be deliberately targeting and destroying food stocks and storage locations.
“The UN Appeal estimates that up to 18 million people will be affected in Ukraine, including up to 6.7 million who will be newly internally displaced.
“Food shortages in cities and millions of refugees and displaced persons call for urgent food aid to Ukraine.
“Humanitarian actors, such as the World Food Programme, are providing food assistance and scaling-up operations.
“The EU is mobilising aid through both its civil protection and humanitarian mechanisms.
“EU humanitarian aid, already operational, amounts to €93million for Ukraine and Moldova including food assistance and support for basic needs.”
The EU paper makes clear there is no immediate danger for the bloc as it is mostly self-sufficient and expected to export more wheat this year.
But experts from the Commission have warned “the invasion of Ukraine and a global commodity price boom are driving up prices”.
“Nearly one in three people in the world do not have access to adequate food and for about three billion people the costs of a healthy diet were out of reach.
“These numbers risk rising further and therewith falling further short of reaching the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
“According to initial FAO analysis, the number of undernourished people globally is projected to increase by 7.6 million people (moderate shock scenario) to 13.1 million people (severe shock scenario).”
Diplomats and ministers from throughout the EU are meeting to discuss how agricultural markets are responding to Russia’s war.
They will also look at plans to help Ukraine secure its agricultural production and export grain via the EU land route.
Talks at the Agrifish Council could last a marathon 12 hours and will be led by France’s Marc Fesneau, who is on his first visit to Brussels as the country’s farm chief.
The EU has insisted it is working with Ukrainian authorities to ensure seeds, diesel, pesticides and fertilizers reach farms, while making sure of transport and storage of the harvest.
But a Ukrainian diplomat told Politico: “We still don’t get enough supplies.
“I can’t say they do nothing, they do support.”