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Iran Press TV

UN warns of full-on global food crisis amid war in Ukraine

Iran Press TV

Saturday, 04 June 2022 2:23 PM

The United Nations has warned about a full-on global food crisis as the war in Ukraine risks aggravating inflating prices, with no end to the conflict in sight.

Luca Russo, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)'s lead analyst said as the 100 days of war have pushed energy prices higher, the cost of delivering aid has increased as well.

Speaking with Al Jazeera, Russo said "this is not a new crisis."

"The number of people facing severe food insecurity has grown dramatically in the last six years."

"The Ukraine war is the latest element in an extremely complex situation."

Russo said the world is not facing "food shortage" but that "prices are escalating."

"One reason is the increased cost of energy. As a result of the Ukraine war, 19 countries in the last month put in place restrictive measures on food exports. All these contribute to increasing prices."

"The increased price in wheat, maize and fuel means that with the same money we can deliver much less assistance," Russo said. The recent "changes in food prices can have a devastating effect" on the famine in Afghanistan, Yemen, South Sudan, northeastern Nigeria, and Somalia. Russo warned that "if the war in Ukraine continues, 2023 could be a very, very dangerous year."

The war in Ukraine began when President Vladimir Putin of Russia ordered an operation on February 24. Ever since, Russia has come under a series of harsh sanctions imposed by the United States and its Western allies. Unprecedented waves of sanctions have sent the prices of grain, cooking oil, fertilizers and energy skyrocketing.

Russia and Ukraine together produce virtually 30 percent of the global wheat supply.

Addressing the national television, Putin said reports of a Russian ban on Ukraine's grain exports were "a bluff." The Russian president blamed the West for global food and energy crises. The Russian leader denied Moscow was preventing Ukrainian ports from exporting grain, saying the West was trying to cover up their own policy mistakes by blaming Russia for problems on the global food market.

Ukrainian grain can be exported through Belarus: Putin

Putin on Friday repeated his government's offers of safe passage for ships exporting grain from Ukraine if mines are removed from the territorial waters. He said there is "no problem" to export grain from the country. The Russian president said the export could be done via Ukrainian ports, via others under Russian control, or even via central Europe. He said the best solution would be to ship grain through Belarus.

"If someone wants to solve the problem of exporting Ukrainian grain - please, the easiest way is through Belarus. No one is stopping it," Putin said.

"But for this you have to lift sanctions from Belarus."

"The situation will worsen, because the British and Americans have imposed sanctions on our fertilizers."

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