The Next Ukraine Crisis Could Be a Food Crisis: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russia of using “hunger as their weapon” by blocking deliveries of food and aid both to Ukrainian citizens and to other countries.
“In addition, Russia has blocked all our seaports, along with those vessels that have already been loaded with agricultural goods for export.
“Why are they doing this? Because they also consider hunger as their weapon. Weapon against us, ordinary people. As a tool to dominate.
Zelenskyy also singled out the strategic port city of Mariupol, in southern Ukraine, which has been encircled by Russian troops for weeks.
“Russia has been using hunger against our people since the first days of the war. The worst is in Mariupol. This half-million city was completely blocked by Russian troops more than a month ago. They blocked access from both land and sea. Any access,” he said.
“They are blocking humanitarian goods, do not allow to bring anything — food, water, medicine. When there was snow, people could melt at least the snow to get water, but now there is none.”
Zelenskyy warned both that Russia was not only cutting of supplies to people in Ukraine, but also disrupting global food supply, as Ukraine is one of the world’s largest food producers.
He warned of famine, instability, and more refugees around the world as a result of food shortages.
“Now, it is the time of the planting season in Ukraine. To foil our planting season, to destroy our infrastructure is to deliberately provoke a food crisis,” he said.
“And what will happen due to this crisis? At least, it will be political turbulence. At most, there will be outbreaks of violence in regions where instability is becoming traditional, and a new mass influx of refugees who are simply looking for ways to survive will be seen.”
Zelenskyy warned of the possibility of famine in some countries because of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Without our exports, it is not simply a shortage, but a threat of famine for more than a dozen countries in Africa and Asia. Because there will be not enough volumes of commodities and prices will hike. It’s a fact.”
Sinéad Baker is a News Reporter based in Business Insider’s London bureau.