The European Union’s foreign policy chief said on Monday that Russia was committing a “real war crime” by blocking the export of millions of tons of Ukrainian grain.
Josep Borrell made the statement on Monday as EU foreign ministers held a summit discussing how to get Ukrainian grain to market as a global food crisis develops, Reuters reported.
Ukraine is one of the world’s largest suppliers of wheat and grains.
But exports have come to a halt during Russia’s invasion. More than 20 million tons of grain are stuck in the country with Russian troops blocking ports necessary for shipping.
Borrell urged Russia to open up Black Sea shipping lanes needed for exporting Ukrainian grain to the world.
"One cannot imagine that millions of tons of wheat remain blocked in Ukraine while in the rest of the world people are suffering hunger," he said to reports in Luxembourgh upon arriving at the meeting.
"This is a real war crime."
The EU is supportive of attempts by the UN to come to an agreement to reopen Ukrainian grain sea exports in exchange for allowing Russian food and fertilizer exports. But Moscow has so far not agreed.
At the same time, a plan led by Germany to transport Ukrainian grain by land is in the works as a new harvest is beginning and the previous harvest is still inside Ukrainian grain silos. The plan would reportedly involved Poland and Romania offering their railway system to move the grain by train.
"It is clear that, in the end, we will certainly not be able to get out all grain but if we even just manage to free part of it, on various routes, then this will help as we are facing this global challenge," German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said in Luxembourg.