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Russia’s Black Sea blockade pushing millions towards famine, G7 says

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theguardian.com

Millions of people will starve to death unless Russia allows the export of Ukrainian grain from blockaded ports, foreign ministers from the G7 have said.As Germany’s chancellor, Olaf Scholz, warned that Vladimir Putin was intransigent during their bilateral call on Friday, the ministers from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and US condemned Moscow for stoking a food crisis.The G7 governments said the Russian president was pushing 43 million people towards famine by refusing to allow cereals to leave Ukraine via Black Sea ports.“Russia’s unprovoked and premeditated war of aggression has exacerbated the global economic outlook with sharply rising food, fuel and energy prices,” they said in a joint statement. “Combined with Russia blocking the exit routes for Ukraine’s grain, the world is now facing a worsening state of food insecurity and malnutrition … This is at a time when 43 million people were already one step away from famine.”Canada’s foreign minister, Mélanie Joly, told reporters: “We need to make sure that these cereals are sent to the world.

If not, millions of people will be facing famine.”The call came as Ukrainian officials claimed some major military successes, with the mayor of Kharkiv saying on Saturday that the Russians had withdrawn “far out” from Ukraine’s second-largest city.The general staff of Ukraine’s army echoed the comments, saying the Russians had left their positions around the north-eastern city, which is 31 miles (50km) from the Russian border.The remorseless shelling endured by the civilian population in the region had also paused, according to the regional governor, Oleh Sinegubov, while Ukrainian forces were launching a counteroffensive near the city of Izium, 78 miles south of

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