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A UN official says millions of tons of grain are blocked at Ukraine's ports due to Russia's invasion, according to a report

Urooba Jamal   

A UN official says millions of tons of grain are blocked at Ukraine's ports due to Russia's invasion, according to a report
  • Almost 4.5 million tons of grain are stuck at Ukraine's ports, a WFP official told DPA
  • Martin Frick warned that Ukrainian grains are essential to help alleviate a global food crisis.

Millions of tons of grain are stuck in Ukraine as the ongoing conflict with Russia prevents safe transit from the country's ports, a UN official warned.

"Currently, almost 4.5 million tons of grain are stuck in Ukrainian ports and on ships and cannot be used," Martin Frick, the Germany director of the UN World Food Programme told German news agency DPA.

"Ukraine's food is urgently needed in the world," Frick told the agency, adding that Ukrainian shipments were critical to help tackle a "global food crisis."

Ukraine is a significant exporter of grains such as wheat and corn, accounting for 12% and 17% of global supply, respectively. Prices of the commodities surged in the wake of Russia's invasion, as conflict curtails production and export of the grains, with blocked shipping routes proving a major obstacle.

"Food needs to get to the trapped and suffering people in Ukraine, but equally it needs to get out of the region and into the world to alleviate a global food crisis," Frick told the newswire.

The WFP has provided food assistance to 2.5 million people fleeing the conflict. Nearly 8 million people have been internally displaced in Ukraine, according to the WFP, and more than 5 million people have fled the country.

Frick also told DPA that the WFP needed humanitarian access in Ukraine so that exports could restart.

"Hunger must not be a weapon," he said.

Plans are underway to develop a "grain bridge" for blocked supplies of grain to be exported out the country through trains instead of the sea, which would involve the cooperation of Ukrainian Railways and its neighboring countries, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania, the Guardian reported.

Hundreds of seafarers on dozens of vessels have been stranded in the region as a result of the conflict, the International Maritime Organization and International Transport Workers' Federation previously told Insider.

According to NATO, floating mines have been found and deactivated in the western Black Sea by authorities of countries that border the waterway. The organization also said that "threat of collateral damage or direct hits on civilian shipping" in parts of the Black Sea remains high.

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