UK in discussion to get grain out of Ukraine

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Image by REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko

The UK is in discussions with Ukraine about how to help get grain out of the country after Russia blocked its main sea ports, transport minister Grant Shapps said today (24).

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. He had met Ukrainian infrastructure minister Oleksander Kubrakov last week.

“We were discussing details which I can’t go into but about how infrastructure could be in place to ensure the grain leaves,” Shapps 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,” he said. “It’s absolutely essential that we do, otherwise there could be a lot of hunger and indeed even famine.”

The news came amid worries over a worsening food crisis and an economic downturn looming over the second day of the World Economic Forum.

Achim Steiner, the administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), tells us that the world is not prepared for what’s ahead.

“We are in trouble. The war in Ukraine is dramatic in so many ways. There is an acute crisis in food, fuel and finance. As of today there is no reason to believe this is a short term challenge.

“We are in the middle of a series of unfolding crises and the world is not prepared for it,” Steiner said.

Hunger, Steiner said, was probably the one thing that got people on the streets because once people found they couldn’t afford to feed their families they lost faith in government.

“What we saw in Sri Lanka we are likely to see in more and more countries.”

The supply disruption caused by the war in Ukraine, with Black Sea ports blockaded, is driving up prices, creating shortages and the risk of famine.