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G7 warns of grain crisis due to Ukraine war

German Foreign Minister Annalena Bierbock, who hosted a meeting of G7 foreign ministers, said the war had become a “global crisis”.

She warned that “about 50 million people, especially in countries in Africa and the Middle East, will die in the next few months” unless ways are found to release Ukrainian grain, which represents a large share of global supply.

In statements issued at the end of the Group of Seven meeting held in Weissenheuser Strand in northern Germany on the Baltic Sea, the Group of Seven countries pledged to provide more humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable.

“Russia’s war of aggression has triggered one of the most severe food and energy crises in modern history that now threatens the most vulnerable groups around the world,” the group said.

“We are determined to accelerate a coordinated multilateral response to maintain global food security and stand by our most vulnerable partners in this regard,” she added.

Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Jolie said her country – another major agricultural exporter – is ready to send ships to European ports so that Ukrainian grain can be brought to those in need.

“We need to make sure that these pills are sent to the world,” she told reporters. “If not, millions of people would face starvation.”

The group, which includes Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, also called on China to “stop manipulating information, disinformation and other means to legitimize Russia’s war against Ukraine.”

The meeting in Weissenhaus, northeast of Hamburg, was seen as an opportunity for officials to discuss the war’s broader implications for geopolitics, energy and food security, and the ongoing international effort to tackle climate change and the pandemic.

In a series of closing statements, the G7 nations also addressed a wide range of global problems from the situation in Afghanistan to tensions in the Middle East.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Friday appealed to friendly countries to provide more military support to Kyiv and increase pressure on Russia, including the confiscation of its assets abroad to pay for Ukraine’s reconstruction.

Kuleba said his country is still ready to talk with Russia about lifting the embargo on grain supplies stuck in Ukraine’s silos and also about reaching a political agreement to end the war itself, but so far it has not received “any positive feedback” from Moscow.

Russia has rejected the claim that it is responsible for exacerbating hunger worldwide and driving up food prices.

“Prices are rising due to the sanctions imposed by the West under pressure from the United States … Failure to understand this is a sign of stupidity or deliberate misinformation of the public,” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.

The G7 also called on China not to help Russia, particularly by undermining international sanctions or justifying Moscow’s actions in Ukraine.

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