The United Kingdom (UK) is spearheading efforts to help vulnerable people and economies deal with the impact of Russian President, Vladimir Putin’s War on Ukraine and some of his actions.
A statement on Friday, 8 September, 2023, by the British High Commission in Nigeria, said the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak announced that the UK will convene an international food security summit in November.
Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, the event will bring together government representatives from across the world, including vulnerable countries, with international organisations, NGOs, researchers and private sector companies, to tackle the causes of food insecurity and malnutrition.
In its first six months, the Grain from Ukraine programme allowed 170,000 tonnes of Ukrainian grain to be delivered to countries including Somalia and Yemen. The uplift in UK funding announced will enable further grain shipments to go to countries in need as identified by the World Food Programme.
According to the statement, Ukraine has been a hugely important source of food for the World Food Programme this year. This year- up until July when Russia pulled out of the Black Sea Grain Initiative- WFP procured 80% of its global wheat grain from Ukraine.
It stated that Russia’s sudden withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, and the consequent spike in global food prices, will cost lives around the world – further destabilising economies and putting people at risk of starvation.
It added that before Putin’s full-scale invasion, Ukraine was the world’s 5th largest wheat exporter, 4th largest corn exporter and 3rd largest rapeseed exporter. Grain ordinarily accounts for 41% of Ukrainian export revenue, and almost two thirds of the grain exported by the country goes to the developing world.
It lamented that since pulling out of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Russia has declared that all ships transiting to Ukrainian Black Sea ports will be treated as military vessels – irrespective of the cargo they are carrying. It has acted upon this assessment by firing shots and boarding a cargo ship bound for one of Ukraine’s Danube ports, action which may constitute a violation of International Humanitarian Law.
The statement revealed that the UK will use its intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance to monitor Russian activity in the Black Sea, call out Russia if it sees warning signs that they are preparing attacks on civilian shipping or infrastructure in the Black Sea, and attribute attacks to prevent false flag claims that seek to deflect blame from Russia.
It said alongside military efforts to deter Russian attacks, the UK will also contribute £3 million in funding for the World Food Programme to continue work started under President Zelenskyy’s ‘Grain from Ukraine’ initiative, which was established in November last year to send Ukrainian grain to countries whose people are suffering from the high global price of staple foods.