Brussels, 26 November 2022
Thank you, dear Volodymyr, for convening us on this very important day.
This meeting falls on the Holodomor memorial day – when 90 years ago, hunger was used as a weapon by the Soviet Union against the Ukrainian people.
Today, Russia is again using food as a weapon.
As part of its brutal aggression against Ukraine, Russia has destroyed your agricultural production, targeted your grain silos, and blockaded your ports.
Thus Russia is depriving of vital access to food the most vulnerable countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.
And then it uses disinformation to blame others for its despicable actions.
We must continue to fight back against this.
Your initiative “Grain from Ukraine”, which has my full support, is crucial to our efforts.
You are showing unwavering commitment to global food security, international responsibility and solidarity with those most in need.
And we stand by your side.
In Bali, G20 leaders called for global solidarity to fight hunger caused by Russia’s war of aggression.
We will not falter in our responsibilities and will continue to do everything we can on this front.
The Solidarity Lanes established by the Commission and bordering Member States are a major success.
Since May, they have enabled the export of more than 17 million tonnes of Ukrainian grain and food products.
And they are the only option for the export of all other, non-agricultural Ukrainian goods to the rest of the world.
The Solidarity Lanes have become a lifeline for Ukraine’s economy, bringing more than 19 billion euros of much-needed income to Ukrainian farmers and businesses.
The European Commission, together with Financial Institutions such as the EIB, the EBRD, and the World Bank, have now mobilised 1 billion euros of additional funding to boost the capacity of these Solidarity Lanes.
And we welcome the extension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative for 120 days.
Taken together, the EU Solidarity Lanes and the Black Sea Grain Initiative have allowed the export of more than 28 million tonnes of agricultural products to the world market, especially to the countries most in need.
It is very important to signal to the world today that we will not let our most vulnerable partners down.
This is why I am very pleased to announce the support of the European Commission to load two ships with grain.
We will pay to transport 40,000 tons of grain which is the remainder of the grain that you have made available. Whatever the costs are.
90 years after the Holodomor, we honour the memory of Ukraine’s victims.
They died in silence, starving to death, and, at that time, the world did not rise to help them. We will not let this happen again.
As we come together with Ukraine today to help avert hunger around the world, we also stand with Ukraine as it mourns the innocent victims of the Holodomor.
And we will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes.
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