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President Volodymyr Zelensky announced the start of the "Grain From Ukraine" scheme to deliver grain to African countries struggling with food security issues.
Zelensky told The Guardian that the program aims to deliver vital grain to countries such as Yemen, Sudan and Somalia for “vulnerable people in their hour of need.” Within the initiative, up to 60 cargo ships would be sent in the first six months of 2023.
“Even as the country struggles with food shortages, devastated farmland, and widespread blackouts, we will never forget our role as a responsible global citizen,” Zelensky said.
The program was symbolically launched on the memorial day for Holodomor, the articifical famine organized by the Soviet authorities, which killed millions of Ukrainians in 1932-1933. Ukraine considers Holodomor an act of genocide of Ukrainians, and has been fighting for it to be recognized as such globally.
Ukraine commemorates the victims of Holodomor on the fourth Saturday of November annually. This year, the day falls on Nov. 26.
In a video address on the Holodomor memorial day, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said that “hunger must never again be used as a weapon.”
Provoked by Russia's barbaric war against Ukraine, the world is currently witnessing “the worst global food crisis with dire consequences for millions of people – from Afghanistan to Madagascar, from the Sahel to the Horn of Africa,” Scholz said.
In October, about 150 ships were queuing in the Black Sea, due to Russia blocking them. As a result, Ukraine's grain exports were short 3 million tonnes, enough to feed 10 million people, according to Zelensky.
On Nov. 17, Ukraine and Russia agreed for another 120 days on a safe corridor for grain exports from Ukrainian ports through the Black Sea. The deal was originally brokered by the UN and Turkey.