The Black Sea blockade that is preventing Ukraine from exporting food and other goods is a “war crime” and Russia will be held accountable if it continues, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell Fontelles, said on Monday.
Ukraine was a major exporter of grain, cooking oil and fertilizer before the Russian invasion in February, but the blockade — along with Russia’s seizure of Ukrainian farmland and its destruction of agricultural infrastructure — have caused Ukraine’s exports to collapse. The latest blow came Monday, when Ukrainian regional authorities said that a Russian missile strike in Odesa had burned down a food logistics warehouse.
The drop in exports has contributed to a spike in global food prices, exacerbated by rising demand as the world economy emerges from the pandemic. The United Nations has warned of hunger or even famine in some countries as a result, particularly in Africa.