U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Sunday with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Berlin, where the two men discussed plans to work together to ensure Ukrainian food exports reach consumers in Africa and Asia.
The two are attending a NATO foreign ministers’ meeting, called to discuss the situation in the ground on Ukraine and to coordinate efforts to provide Ukraine with the humanitarian assistance and the weapons it needs to defend itself against Russia.
Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24 has caused food prices to rise and raised the threat of famine in many parts of the world. Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven countries meeting in Germany Saturday called on the Russian government to end its blockade of Ukrainian Black Sea ports to free up exports of critically needed Ukrainian grain, fertilizer and other agricultural products.
Blinken and the NATO foreign ministers also plan to discuss Finland’s leaders’ decision to apply to join NATO without delay. The United States has said it would support both Finland and Sweden’s applications to join the transatlantic security alliance.
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto in a phone call initiated by Finland Saturday that any attempt by Helsinki to join NATO would harm bilateral relations. Finland’s leaders cite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a threat to their country’s security, since the Finland and Russia share a 1,340-kilometer border.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayiip Erdogan has also expressed concerns about Finland and Sweden joining the alliance. Senior U.S. officials says they are working to clarify Turkey’s position.