UN official warns Putin that millions of people will die if Ukrainian ports remain blocked

“Millions of people around the world will die because these ports are blocked,” Beasley told CNN during Thursday’s conference call.

Asked what he would say directly to Putin, the UN spokesman said: “If you have a heart for the rest of the world, no matter how you feel about Ukraine, you need to open these ports.”

Beasley, the former Republican governor of South Carolina, has warned that ports must be operational within the next 60 days or Ukraine’s agriculture-based economy will collapse.

“If you do not solve and open this port issue, the Ukrainian economy will completely collapse,” Beasley said at the SABEW conference in New York. “It is becoming landlocked like Moldova. Ports are critical.”

According to the US, Ukraine is one of the world’s top five exporters of various key agricultural products, including corn, wheat and barley. Department of Agriculture. It is also a leading exporter of both sunflower oil and meal. In 2021, agricultural products accounted for 41% of Ukraine’s total exports.
President Joe Biden addressed the global food supply shock caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, noting that about 20 million tons of grain were stuck in silos there.

“Guess what?” Biden said while visiting a farm in Illinois on Wednesday. “If these tons don’t reach the market, a lot of people in Africa will starve to death because they are the only supplier for a number of African countries.”

Using food and energy as a weapon?

After Russia pledged on Wednesday to impose sanctions on 31 foreign energy companies, a senior German official on Thursday accused Russia of using energy as a “weapon”.

Asked if Russia is similarly using food as a weapon, the UN’s Beasley said it would if ports were not quickly reopened. “Two plus two is four,” he said.

Biden blamed Russia's war in Ukraine on food shortages and rising prices

But it won’t be easy to unblock the ports. Not only are they protected by mines and battleships, Beasley said the Ukrainian military is concerned that their reopening would allow Russia to make a “fast move” and invade Ukraine through its ports.

Emphasizing that he is a “humanitarian guy”, the UN spokesman called for “understanding” in the international community that they will do “whatever is necessary to protect” the ports from “invasion”.

“World leaders must put pressure on Russia so that we can maintain absolute neutrality in the delivery of goods to and from Odessa,” Beasley said.

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