Russia is targeting wheat stocks in Ukraine, worsening global food crisis, EU says

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By Shona Murray
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell arrives for a meeting of EU foreign ministers at the European Council building in Luxembourg, Monday, April 11, 2022.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell arrives for a meeting of EU foreign ministers at the European Council building in Luxembourg, Monday, April 11, 2022.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Olivier Matthys

Brussels has accused Moscow of worsening a global food crisis by targeting wheat stocks and preventing exports from Ukrainian ports.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Russia's warships were blockading ships full of wheat and "bombing and destroying stocks of wheat and preventing this wheat from being exported."

"They are bombing Ukrainian cities and provoking hunger in the world. They are provoking hunger in the world by blocking the exports of wheat and by destroying the storage of wheat in Ukraine," he added, urging people not to blame sanctions.

The bloc's top diplomat was speaking following a meeting of EU foreign affairs ministers in Luxembourg where they discussed ending Europe’s reliance on oil and gas as part of a sixth package of sanctions.

An agreement on further sanctions was not expected, nor was it reached, but Borrell said "nothing was off the table".

“Today no decision was taken, just a discussion," he said.

But he added it was important to start discussing oil, as it was easier to replace than gas and is worth more.

"Last year, 2021, the bill for oil was four times bigger than the bill for gas," Borrell told reporters.

Although several member states such as Poland, the Baltics, Ireland and the Netherlands are calling for an energy embargo, he said the impact of the war is having different effects on eastern and western Europe.

"This is an asymmetric shock to EU member states," he said. "It has to be managed with solidarity and unity."

Borrell also said that mobilising money from the European Peace Facility was key for Ukraine now and reiterated the bloc's willingness to provide money for lethal, defensive weapons.