Russia has blocked Ukrainian Black Sea ports, which could cause the country to lose tens of millions of tonnes of grain, which could potentially trigger a food crisis that will hit Europe, Asia and Africa, stated Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
Oezdemir reportedly stated that the government was receiving constant reports about Russian attacks targeting grain silos in the country, as well as farming areas and infrastructure.
Russia has repeatedly denied targeting civilian areas.
Oezdemir was quoted as saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin was seeking to remove Ukraine as a competitor in the long term.
Russia and Ukraine are traditionally major competitors in global grains markets. Global wheat prices have risen by over 40% after Russia’s invasion cut off supplies to world markets from the Black Sea.
According to International Grains Council data, Ukraine was the world’s fourth-largest grain exporter in the 2020/21 season, selling 44.7 million tonnes abroad. The export volume has declined sharply since the Russian invasion.
Oezdemir was quoted as telling a news network that Russia is seeking to build pressure amid increasing hunger globally. He also said that the steep increase in market price would bring in new money to the country.
Oezdemir also said he would raise the question of how Ukrainian farmers could be helped to boost grain exports at a meeting of G7 agriculture ministers in mid-May this year.
The minister also said that alternative transport methods must be sought, while also stating that railway transport would be an option, although limited in capacity. Germany would seek to give assistance, he added.
Ukraine to seek alternative export methods
Ukraine has been gradually expanding grain exports using land transport to the European Union. But the different rail track widths in Ukraine and the EU mean Ukrainian trains cannot automatically operate on the European rail network.
Moscow calls its actions a special military operation to disarm Ukraine and rid it of anti-Russian nationalism fomented by the West. Ukraine and the West say Russia launched an unprovoked war of aggression that threatens to spiral into a much wider conflict.