Germany has accused Russia of deliberately provoking a global food crisis aimed at weakening the international alliance against the war in Ukraine.
"Russia is destroying transport routes and storage facilities for Ukrainian grain, which is pushing up prices and threatening to unleash brutal hunger around the world, especially in Africa, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said at a news conference after talks with Group of Seven counterparts in northern Germany, reports Bloomberg.
Ukraine is one of the world's biggest growers of wheat and the US expects production to fall by one-third this year compared to last season. Baerbock added that about 25 million tons of grain are stuck at Ukrainian ports, particularly in Odesa, due to the Russian blockade and only a small amount can be transported out by train.
"We must not be naive about this," Baerbock said. "It's not collateral damage, it's a perfectly deliberate instrument in a hybrid war that is currently being waged."
Baerbock also condemned what she called Moscow's "massive disinformation campaign" that she said sought to "portray the aggressor as the victim."
India this week joined other nations in prohibiting wheat exports in the face of global supply constraints sparked by the war in Ukraine.