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Ukraine Leader Cautions That Russian Blockade May Cause Global Food Shortages


FILE - In this image from video provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks from Kyiv, Ukraine, June 2, 2022.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned Saturday that the Russian invasion of his country would harm the international order and cause severe economic losses for several countries. Speaking through a video link to ministers and officials from 42 countries attending the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, a prominent security summit, he underscored the importance of strong action.

"I am grateful for your support... but this support is not only for Ukraine but for you as well," he said. "It is on the battlefields of Ukraine that the future rules of this world are being decided along with the boundaries of the possible."

Zelenskyy went on to explain that several countries in Asia and Africa would face famine and food shortages because Russian soldiers had laid a blockade to check the flow of food grains from Ukraine, one of the world's top food producers.


"If... due to Russian blockades we are unable to export our foodstuffs, the world will face an acute and severe food crisis and famine in many countries in Asia and Africa," the Ukrainian leader said.

There is a direct link between the soaring commodity prices and Russian military action. Russia started by blocking the flow of energy to jack up the prices, and it now is doing the same with food.

Russia is blocking ports in the Black Sea and Azov Sea, keeping Ukrainian food exports from the world market. That hurts not just Ukrainians but the entire world, Zelenskyy said.


Russia has described the blockade as a "special operation" meant to destroy Ukraine's military capabilities and capture what it regards as dangerous nationalists.

"Please remember the war is being waged on our soil. People in Ukraine are dying. ... We don't want to go to Russian soil," Zelenskyy told the delegates at the summit.

Ukraine's ambassador to Singapore, Kateryna Zelenko, emphasized the country urgently requires additional assistance. "We understand it will take time, but time is what we don't have," she said.

The country is battling to push the Russian soldiers out of areas it has controlled since early in the war. Zelenskyy said Ukrainians are defending the country against ferocious Russian attacks in the country's east, particularly around the city of Sievierodonetsk.

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