13 May, 01:09 PM

World Food Programme chief forecasts millions of deaths if Ukrainian ports remain blocked

The head of the UN World Food Programme, David Beasley, has called on Russian dictator Vladimir Putin to lift his blockade of Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea before a global catastrophe occurs, in a comment to CNN on May 13.

Beasley said that millions of people around the world are facing death because of this blockade.

"If you have any heart at all for the rest of the world, regardless of how you feel about Ukraine, you need to open up those ports," the WFP chief pleaded.

The blockade prevents vital shipments of agricultural products from Ukraine, "known as the breadbasket of the world", from export – due to the fact that Russia has blockaded the port of Odesa, and neighboring ports.

Beasley warned that they must be put into operation within the next 60 days, otherwise Ukraine's agriculture-oriented economy will "completely collapse."

Alternative logistics routes for the export of agricultural products are currently being developed and implemented, including increasing shipping volumes on the Danube river, which stretches from the Black Sea coast to Germany.

For his part, the executive director of the UN World Food Programme promised to help attract investment for the development of Ukraine's transport industry, and organize humanitarian hubs in southern Ukraine to provide food aid.

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