UN sec gen says Russia needs to be brought back into grain deal
The UN’s top official has pleaded for Russia to be returned to the Black Sea grain initiative as its withdrawal has led to the breakdown of global food systems.
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Speaking at a UN summit on food systems in Rome, Antonio Guterres said "many communities are one shock away from plummeting into food insecurity or even famine."
"Global food systems are broken, and billions of people are paying the price", he added.
The UN secretary general further said Russia’s decision to terminate the Black Sea grain initiative made the "dire picture" of global food security "bleaker".
"The Russian Federation and Ukraine are both essential to global food security. They have historically accounted for roughly 30 percent of global wheat and barley exports, a fifth of all maize, and more than half of all sunflower oil.
"I call on the Russian Federation to return to the implementation of the Black Sea initiative, in line with my latest proposal," Mr Guterres concluded.
On July 17, 2023, Russia announced its withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, adding that it would not give guarantees of non-attack on civilian vessels after that date. On the same day, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy offered the UN and Turkey to continue the work of the corridor without Russia.
After that, Russia attacked Odesa for several nights in a row, causing serious damage to the ports in Odesa and Chornomorsk, which worked within the corridor.