The Group of Seven major economies has warned that the war in Ukraine is fueling a global food and energy crisis that threatens poor countries, and that urgent action is needed to unblock granaries that prevent Russia from leaving Ukraine.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Barbock, who hosted a meeting of top G7 diplomats, said on Saturday that the war had become a “global crisis”.
As many as 50 million people, mainly in Africa and the Middle East, will face starvation in the coming months unless ways are found to release Ukrainian grain, which accounts for a large share of global supply, Barbock said.
In statements released at the end of the three-day meeting on Germany’s Baltic coast, the Group of Seven pledged more humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable.
“Russia’s war of aggression has generated one of the most severe food and energy crises in modern history that now threatens the most vulnerable groups around the world,” the organization said.
“We are determined to accelerate a coordinated multilateral response to maintain global food security and stand by our most vulnerable partners in this regard,” she added.
Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Jolie said her country, another major agricultural exporter, was ready to send ships to European ports so that Ukrainian grain could be brought to those in need.
“We need to make sure that these pills are sent to the world,” she told reporters. “If not, millions of people would face starvation.”
The G7 nations have also called on China not to help Russia, including by undermining international sanctions or justifying Moscow’s actions in Ukraine.
They said Beijing should support Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence, not “help Russia in its war of aggression.”
The G7, which includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States, also called on China to “stop manipulating information, disinformation and other means to legitimize Russia’s aggressive war against Ukraine.”
The meeting in Weisenhaus, northeast of Hamburg, was described as an opportunity for officials to discuss the war’s broader implications for geopolitics, energy and food security, and the ongoing international efforts to tackle climate change and the pandemic.
In a series of closing statements, the G7 nations also addressed a wide range of global problems from the situation in Afghanistan to tensions in the Middle East.
On Friday, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba appealed to friendly countries to provide more military support to Kyiv and increase pressure on Russia, including the confiscation of its assets abroad to pay the costs of rebuilding Ukraine.
Kuleba said his country is still ready to talk with Russia about lifting the embargo on grain supplies stuck in Ukraine’s silos and also about reaching a political agreement to end the war itself, but so far it has not received “any positive feedback” from Moscow.
German Chancellor Olaf Schulz said in an interview published on Saturday that he had not noticed any change in Putin’s position recently.
Schulz, who spoke at length with the Russian leader on Friday, told German news portal T-Online that Putin had failed to achieve the military goals he set at the start of the war while Russian soldiers lost more than the Soviet Union did during that war. Her ten-year campaign in Afghanistan.
“Putin should slowly begin to understand that the only way out of this situation is through an agreement with Ukraine,” Scholz was quoted as saying.
One of the ideas discussed at the G7 meeting was whether the Russian state’s frozen assets abroad could be used to pay for Ukraine’s reconstruction.
“Russia bears responsibility for the severe damage caused by this war,” Barbock said. That is why it is a matter of justice that Russia has to bear for this damage.”