G7 summit: Johnson to call for action on Ukrainian grain exports

Published by Scott Challinor on June 27th 2022, 9:09am

Later on Monday, UK prime minister Boris Johnson will call on his fellow G7 leaders to take action to help safely get Ukrainian grain exports out of the country, reports say.

Since Russia’s invasion, several major Ukrainian ports have been blocked while farms and warehouses have fallen victim to assaults.

Prior to the war, 10 per cent of the world’s wheat and almost 18 per cent of global maize supplies were exported from Ukraine, while together Ukraine and Russia accounted for around 55 per cent of the world’s sunflower oil exports.

The squeeze on foodstuff supplies coming out of Ukraine has left countries across the world affected by price hikes and shortages, while around 25 million tonnes of corn and wheat are stationary in silos and at risk of spoiling.

With Turkey controlling access to the Black Sea, Johnson’s government has called on the country to do more to help get grain supplies out of Ukraine by ship.

Johnson is expected to tell G7 leaders on Monday: “Putin's actions in Ukraine are creating terrible aftershocks across the world, driving up energy and food prices as millions of people are on the brink of famine.

“Only Putin can end this needless and futile war. But global leaders need to come together and apply their combined economic and political heft to help Ukraine and make life easier for households across the world. Nothing should be off the table.”

Speaking in Rwanda at a Commonwealth summit last week, the PM announced a further £372 million in aid for countries that have been most heavily affected by rising food prices and supply squeeze.

Speaking earlier at the G7 summit in the Bavarian Alps, Johnson said that Ukraine was left on a “knife-edge” after missile strikes hit the capital city of Kyiv, and he said in a meeting with Canadian premier Justin Trudeau that Ukraine needed greater defensive capabilities, training and intelligence if it was to win the war.

The PM also warned that Ukrainians should not be forced into a “bad peace” settlement, where they “give up chunks of their territory in return for a ceasefire”.

Johnson said: “Ukraine can win, and it will win. But they need our backing to do so. Now is not the time to give up on Ukraine.”

The UK leader has also highlighted that his country, Canada, Japan and the US were taking another step of banning Russian gold imports to further hit oligarchs and “strike at the heart of Putin’s war machine”.

The UK government has said that Russian gold exports were worth £12.6 billion to the Russian economy in 2021 and exports are regularly used by oligarchs as a means of circumventing the restrictions of economic sanctions.

Addressing the likelihood of a global recession as a result of the war, Johnson said that there was little sense in contemplating “how bad things might get” and was confident that inflation would eventually cool, and that the situation would ease.

The PM also pointed out how Germany had recently taken the decision to take emergency measures after gas supplies from Russia were cut and praised their sacrifice.

He said: “They're making the effort; they're making the sacrifice. That's because they see the price of freedom is worth paying.

“The price of backing down, of allowing President Putin to hack off parts of Ukraine, to continue with his programme of conquest - that price will be far, far higher and everyone here understands that.”

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky will address leaders himself at the G7 and NATO summits this week.

Ahead of his own speech to the G7 on Monday, Zelensky said that he’d request further air defence systems to help guard against missile attacks.

He said: “We need a powerful air defence - modern, fully effective - which can ensure complete protection against these missiles.

“We talk about this every day with our partners. There are already some agreements. And partners need to move faster if they are really partners, not observers.

“Delays in the transfer of weapons to our state, any restrictions are actually an invitation for Russia to strike again and again.

“The occupiers - these terrorists - must be beaten with all our might so that they do not think they can put pressure on and outplay someone.”

Image taken from Wikimedia Commons

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Authored By

Scott Challinor
Business Editor
June 27th 2022, 9:09am

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