Ukraine war: Global food shortages due to Russia’s invasion ‘could cause more deaths than war itself’ | World News


Famine caused by grain and food shortages due to the invasion of Ukraine could cause more deaths than the war itself, UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said.

His comments came as Russia continues to block Ukraine’s main seaports, preventing the export of millions of tonnes of grain and other agricultural products.

Mr Shapps said he was very concerned about the issue, which has seen global food prices soar as Ukraine is unable to export nearly 25 million tonnes of grains, and met Ukrainian infrastructure minister Oleksandr Kubrakov last week.

Putin exit ‘being discussed behind scenes’ – live Ukraine updates

“We were discussing details which I can’t go into, but about how infrastructure could be in place to ensure the grain
leaves,” he told Sky News.

“We’re looking at all the different options … there are lots of different potential ways to get grain and other goods
out of the country.”

“It’s absolutely essential that we do, otherwise there could be a lot of hunger and indeed even famine.”

Poland has become a major gateway for Western humanitarian aid and weapons going into Ukraine, and has been helping Ukraine get its grain and other agricultural products to world markets.

Sky’s international affairs editor Dominic Waghorn is in Odesa on the Black Sea coast, where huge ships carrying grain are stuck in the port, unable to go anywhere.

He said the UK is discussing a solution with allies in Europe such as Lithuania and is considering sending warships to the area in an effort to get Russia to retreat.

“Last year 400 million people were fed by Ukraine’s grain,” he said, but now any ship that tries to leave the ports is under threat of attack.

The situation in Ukraine on day 90 of the war
The situation in Ukraine on day 90 of the war

In other developments:

• Around 20 countries will send new packages of security assistance to Ukraine
• President Zelenskyy says he is ready for prisoner exchange with Russia “tomorrow”
• Russia drops bid to host Expo 2030 in Moscow as it “cannot count on fair and impartial assessment”
• Russian defence ministry said its forces struck arms depot in Donbas used to store shells for US-produced M777 howitzers

Attacks stepping up in Donbas

Heavy fighting is raging in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, where Russian forces have stepped up their bombardment beyond the frontline, the UK’s Ministry of Defence has said.

Moscow faces stiff Ukrainian resistance to its effort to encircle the area around the city of Sievierodonetsk and consolidate Russian control of the Luhansk region – the main focus but not the only Russian effort in the campaign to capture the Donbas, the ministry said.

Cities not under Russian control have been constantly shelled, and one Ukrainian official said Russian forces targeted civilians trying to flee.

Russia is bent on capturing the eastern industrial heartland of coal mines and factories and has made some localised gains, the MoD said in its daily intelligence briefing, but Ukraine’s long-established Joint Force Operation probably retains effective command and control of that front.

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Why Russia’s war threatens global food crisis

‘Human catastrophe’

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden has said Russia’s “brutal and unprovoked war against Ukraine has triggered a human catastrophe”.

Speaking at the opening of the Quad summit between the leaders of the US, Japan, Australia and India, he said: “It appears to me that Putin is trying to extinguish a culture.

“He’s not even aiming at military targets any more, he’s taking out every school, every church… as if to try to obliterate Ukrainian culture and the world has to deal with it, and we are.”

On Monday night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for “maximum” sanctions against Russia, with an embargo on Russian oil, a complete cut-off of trade and withdrawal of foreign companies. He was speaking in a video address to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Later, Mr Zelensky said four missiles had killed 87 people last week in the town of Desna, 34 miles north of Kyiv, in one of the deadliest single strikes in the war.


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