German Food Minister Says Ukraine Needs Weapons to Avert Global Starvation

  • Germany’s agriculture minister said Ukraine must be supplied with weapons to avoid global starvation.
  • Food Minister Cem Özdemir has urged Western countries to increase their arms to Ukraine, according to German news outlet WAZ.
  • He said Russian President Vladimir Putin was carrying out a “starvation strategy” on the agricultural landscape.

Germany’s agriculture minister has warned of the risk of global starvation if Ukraine does not receive more weapons from Western countries.

According to Food Minister Cem Özdemir, Russian troops are wreaking havoc on the world’s agricultural supply, he Told the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (WAZ), a German newspaper, in a report published on Sunday.

“Russia’s war against Ukraine is increasingly turning out to be an attack on the international community,” he said. “That’s why it’s so important for the West to support Ukraine with more and more effective weapons – and Germany shouldn’t be exempt.”

Özdemir told WAZ that Germany had been informed that Russian troops, under the orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin, were “deliberately destroying agricultural infrastructure and supply chains”.

If they continue to destroy the agricultural landscape in Ukraine, there could be devastating consequences for the global food supply chain, he told WAZ.

He called the operation to destroy Ukraine’s agricultural infrastructure Putin’s “starvation strategy” and urged international organizations, such as the UN’s World Food and Agriculture Committee, to sustain.

“Here we have to agree on the fundamental structural issues of agricultural and food policy in the world,” he said, according to WAZ.

Russia and Ukraine play a central role in the grain market. Ukraine is a major exporter of wheat and maize, representing 12% and 17% of the world supply, respectively. And Russia’s wheat exports account for nearly 17% of global supply, Insider’s Urooba Jamal notes. Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, food prices have started to skyrocket.

“Shortages of these commodities and widespread price increases could add to inflationary pressures and food insecurity,” a World Bank spokesperson told Insider.

The potential effects have worried economists in the United States, who are paying close attention to any reverberations from the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

Bart Watson, chief economist at the Brewers Association, for example, told Insider he’s been monitoring barley’s impact on the US beer supply.

“Ukraine and Russia together produce about a fifth of the world’s barley,” Watson said in an interview with Insider.

Craft brewers in the United States are not primarily dependent on Ukrainian barley. “But these are global markets,” Watson said. “So what happens to the market when the countries that would typically buy those exports from those countries can’t, that’s the big unknown. Are they able to switch to other products or sources? “

James R. Rhodes