May 25 (UPI) — Britain’s Defense Ministry on Wednesday said that Russia’s blockade of Ukrainian ports will likely increase global food prices.
Russia’s naval blockade of key Black Sea ports has deterred the commercial shipping industry from operating in the region and there has been “no significant merchant shipping activity” in or out of the port city of Odessa, Ukraine, since the invasion began, the British Defense Ministry said on Twitter.
“Ukraine’s overland export mechanisms are highly unlikely to substitute for the shortfall in shipping capacity caused by the Russian blockade,” the ministry added. “As a result, significant supplies of Ukrainian grain remain in storage, unable to be exported.”
The ministry also noted that the war in Ukraine has placed “indirect pressure” on global grain prices and that shortfalls created by the blockade “will further increase the price of many staple products.”
On Tuesday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen accused Russia of deliberately targeting Ukrainian grain warehouses, ports and other critical infrastructure to provoke a global food crisis.
“The consequences of these shameful acts are there for everyone to see,” von der Leyen told the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “Global wheat prices are skyrocketing. And it is fragile countries and vulnerable populations that suffer most.
“And on top of this, Russia is now hoarding its own food exports as a form of blackmail — holding back supplies to increase global prices, or trading wheat in exchange for political support. This is using hunger and grain to wield power.”