Statement by the delegation of Ukraine at the Arria formula meeting on Conflict and hunger

Statement by the delegation of Ukraine  at the Arria formula meeting on Conflict and hunger

I would like to thank Ireland for initiating this meeting. The nexus between conflict and hunger is a matter of critical interest for the world against the backdrop of Russia’s aggressive war against Ukraine.

My country has always been a reliable contributor to the global food security and one of the main food suppliers to the most vulnerable countries as well as the international development organizations.

Before the war more than 55% of all sunflower oil in the world were exported from Ukraine. More than 55% of Ukrainian wheat were exported to Asia and 40% - to African states. About 400 million people throughout the world, mostly in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia, depend on grain supplies from Ukraine.

Now Ukrainians themselves may face the food shortages. Russian army deliberately destroys agricultural facilities throughout the country, contaminates our fields with mines. Unfortunately, there are cases of death of farmers from explosions during the sowing campaign.

And Russian army would not be Russian army if they did not try to steal everything they could, including agricultural machinery. For instance, they stole three combine harvesters in the occupied part of Zaporizhzhya region. The GPS trackers that all harvesters were equipped with, easily showed their new location - Russian region of Chechnya.

Inhumane methods of warfare, employed by Russian invaders, includes siege tactics to cut off civilian population from food, water and electricity for months. Dozens of thousands of people in Ukraine are starving because of Russia’s blockade of any humanitarian aid there.

On the global level, as long as Russia persists in its attempts to invade Ukraine, the threat of hunger will be looming over many countries throughout the globe, including the most vulnerable.

Russia continues to block our main sea ports. Currently 57 vessels with 1.25 million tons of grain and oilseeds cannot leave the Ukrainian ports. It must be noted that about 80% of agricultural products were exported from Ukraine through seaports in the Black Sea and Azov Sea.

Russia´s actions against Ukraine, which in particular undermine our export capacities, are the only root cause of the unfolding food crisis. The only way to avoid the worst-case scenario is to compel Russia by joint international efforts to stop the war.

Any attempt to divert our attention to the issues that are implications of Russia’s ongoing violations, any attempt to equate them with the root cause would only help Moscow to further use food exports as a weapon.

Ukraine, in its turn, does its best to secure the country’s export potential to the largest extent possible to ensure those depending on our export will not suffer from hunger. There several options to this end.

One is to ensure maximum logistics across the western border. It takes time to rebuild the efficient transportation. These are hundreds of thousands of operations on certification, search of wagons and barges, establishment of commercial connections, etc.

But the only sustainable solution to ensure food security at the global level would be to repel aggression at sea and on land so that Ukrainian grain and oilseeds in full hit the market. Only a peaceful trade as well as respect to the principles of the UN Charter can save the world from the current and future hunger threats.

Thank you.