“Russian President, Vladimir Putin has become an aggressor against large parts of the world, especially in Africa, the Middle East, but also in Asia,’’ said Jochen Flasbarth, a senior official in Germany’s Economic Cooperation Ministry, arriving at the meeting in Brussels.
According to the German government, Russia is blocking the export of 20 million tons of grain from Ukraine, primarily to North Africa and Asia, much of it is being blocked at Odessa’s Black Sea port.
“The food crisis (Putin) has created is leading many people to hunger,’’ Flasbarth added.
According to the UN’s World Food Programme, 276 million people are suffering from acute hunger at the start of 2022.
If the war in Ukraine continues, that number could rise by an additional 47 million.
EU ministers were set to discuss ways on how to mitigate global food shortages including possible alternative export routes.
Exporting Ukraine’s grain by land has proven difficult, as many trucks in the region were needed for humanitarian goods and different track widths hinder exports by rail, according to the European Commission.
Germany is to present an alliance for global food security, which was approved by development ministers of the leading Western industrialised nations (G7) on Thursday.
The alliance aims to secure additional funding and close coordination of food security efforts.
The EU ministers will be joined by Filippo Grandi, the UN’s High Commissioner for Refugees.