Germany accuses Russia of waging 'grain war'

Russia endangering global food security by blocking Ukrainian ports, says German top diplomat after G7 meet

2022-05-14 19:19:51

BERLIN

Germany on Saturday accused Russia of waging a "grain war," endangering global food security.

Addressing a news conference at the end of the G7 foreign ministers' meeting at the Baltic resort town of Weissenhaus, Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said Moscow was consciously trying to expand the Ukraine war in the world, particularly in Africa.

Accusing Russia of trying to prevent grain from being exported by blocking ports in Ukraine, she said this was not part of the war's collateral damage.

"We must not be naive," the minister warned, saying Russia is deliberately trying to weaken international unity.

Baerbock said millions of tons of grain are stuck in Ukraine because its seaports are blocked by the Russian military.

The group of leading industrialized nations (G7) is considering alternatives to ship grain from Ukraine to break the Russian blockade in the area, she added.

Following problems with rail transport via Romania due to railways' different track widths, exports via the Baltic ports are being examined, she said, noting that prerequisites would first have to be clarified as to how the ports there could be reached.

The minister pointed out that normally, 5-6 million tons of grain could be shipped from Ukraine by sea per month.

"With a delivery by rail, you get significantly less grain," she said.

But, according to Baerbock, every ton delivered can help a little to get the hunger crisis under control.

So far, a fraction has been exported by rail, mainly via Romania, she said, adding that a bottleneck resulted from Ukraine and Romania having different track widths.

Baerbock warned there would be no perfect solution as long as Russia's bombing of Ukraine continues, with 25 million tons of grain lying in Ukrainian ports.

"This is the grain the world needs so badly," she went on to say.

"It is not just about preventing a famine in a few months. The effects of the blockade are already being felt. Even without the war in Ukraine, there are incredible problems in providing food for everyone and people are already starving to death.

"That's why it's so important that we act together," she emphasized.