On Saturday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that he would work with G7 partners to find ways to resume grain exports from Ukraine as the global food crisis becomes a growing concern.
Amid the ongoing war, Ukrainian farmers currently have around 20 million tons of grain they can’t get to international markets because Russia continues to block Black Sea shipping ports. Not to mention, another harvest is supposed to begin soon.
So, unless Russia lifts its blockades, a massive amount of grain will go unsold, which experts worry might cause a global food shortage. Some people have called for an international convoy to break the blockade.
“He said that the UK would work with G7 partners to push for urgent progress,” said a British readout of the call between Prime Minister Johnson and Ukrainian President Zelenskiy about grain exports on Saturday. “The leaders agreed next steps and the imperative for Russia to relax its blockade and allow safe shipping lanes.
“Without understanding from Russia, militarily there is so much that could go wrong,” said Jonathan Bentham, a maritime defense analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. He also added that a convoy would need significant air, land and sea power, which would entail political complications.
“We don’t want to waste it. We know how important it is for the West, for Africa, for Asia,” said Ukrainian farmer Nadiya Stetsiuk, who was the first to buy farmland in her region three decades ago. “That’s the fruit of our labor and people need it.” She still has around 40% of last year’s harvest piled on her farm, with limited space for next season’s.