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Grain from Ukraine summit’s statement: Starvation of civilians as warfare tactic prohibited

The Grain from Ukraine Summit underscores food security amid Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, advocating consequences for threats to global food supplies.
Participants of the Grain From Ukraine summit, which took place in Kyiv on 25 November 2023. Photo: president.gov.ua

On 25 November, the participants of the second Grain from Ukraine International Summit in Kyiv endorsed a Joint Statement, backed by 23 countries, with the document’s text available on the President of Ukraine’s website.

“We strongly believe that threatening global food supplies should not be used as a weapon of war and recall that the starvation of civilians as a tactic of warfare is prohibited.  Countries compromising food security should face immediate international repercussions,” the Statement reads.

Ukraine launched the “Grain from Ukraine” humanitarian program a year ago with substantial international support amid Russia’s ongoing blockade of the Ukrainian sea ports. Last year’s grain deal, brokered by the UN and Türkiye, allowed for some Ukrainian grain exports by sea, but Russia later exited the deal, demanding the relief of the sanctions imposed on it in response to its full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

This prompted Ukraine to establish a temporary corridor in the Black Sea to continue the exports and the Danube corridor and the Baltic Sea.

The Statement stresses that food security is crucial, especially in developing countries, while Ukraine is one of the top global food suppliers.

“Through the «Grain from Ukraine» initiative, more than 170,000 tons of Ukrainian grain was delivered to Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Yemen. More than 25 countries have pledged about 220 million USD to support this humanitarian program,” the document reads.

Meanwhile, Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine has worsened existing food security challenges worldwide, and exacerbated the global food crisis, the Statement notes.

“We strongly believe that threatening global food supplies should not be used as a weapon of war and recall that the starvation of civilians as a tactic of warfare is prohibited,” the signees say, emphasizing “the right of innocent passage for ships of all states, [including commercial vessels under the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea,] which is crucial for global food stability.”

The document urges greater pressure on Russia to alleviate the situation at Ukraine’s Black Sea ports and prioritize global food security:

“We commend and encourage continuous joint efforts of the international community to increase pressure on Russia to unburden Ukraine’s Black Sea ports and to prioritize global food security.”

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