Addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg, von der Leyen voiced her support for Ukraine’s Black Sea ports as a remedy for the looming global food crisis.
“This is a cold, callous and calculated siege by Putin on some of the most vulnerable countries and people in the world,” von der Leyen told EU lawmakers. “Our response must be commensurate with the gravity of the situation. Food has become a weapon of war in Russia’s hands, and we cannot tolerate it.”
The European Union’s growing list of sanctions on Russia did not target basic food products, according to Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission chief.
The EU’s sanctions do not affect the trade of grain or other food products between Russia and third countries, German Agriculture Minister Christiane Werthmann told Sputnik on Wednesday. She added that the port embargo specifically has full exemption on agricultural goods, calling for countering Russian “disinformation” about the food crisis. Her remarks come as Russian and Turkish foreign ministers held meetings in Ankara on Wednesday to discuss issues related to grain exports from Ukraine. Von der Leyen thanked the United Nations for its “efforts” to help restore Ukraine’s Black Sea ports, reiterating that the “majority of Ukrainian grain can only be exported” through these routes.
The expectation that the EU will show solidarity with Ukraine as it has already shown with regard to opposing the spread of epidemics in the world is on the rise.
There is an expectation that the EU will closely collaborate on efforts to address the global food crisis.