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Zelensky warns of world food crisis as Russia blocks 4.5m tons of grain leaving Black Sea

Egypt and Tunisia import 80 percent of their grain from Ukraine and Russia, while Lebanon purchases 60 percent of its supplies from the two countries

Source: Daily Mail

The Russian army bombed a grain warehouse in Ukraine and tightened its blockade on Black Sea ports, sparking fears of a new global food crisis.

Nicknamed 'the breadbasket of Europe', Ukraine's grain supplies are a crucial food source to central and western Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Around 4.5million tonnes of grain are sitting in closed occupied Ukrainian ports, according to UN World Food Programme director Martin Frick.

Mr. Frick said: 'None of the grain can be used right now. It is just sitting there.'

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky also warned Russia's blockade will deprive dozens of countries of essential food supplies.

It followed news that Putin's forces looted £4million worth of Ukrainian tractors and took them 700 miles to Chechnya before realizing they were locked.

The Dnipropetrovsk grain warehouse was destroyed by the Russian missile, staff said.

Zelensky said: 'They targeted the warehouses of agricultural enterprises. The grain warehouse was destroyed.

'The warehouse with fertilizers was also shelled.'

The president urged world leaders to prepare for a new food crisis prompted by Russia's food blockade on Ukraine.

He told 60 Minutes: 'Russia does not let ships come in or go out, it is controlling the Black Sea.

'Russia wants to completely block our country's economy.

'Ukraine could lose tens of millions of tonnes of grain due to Russia's blockade of its Black Sea ports.'

Egypt and Tunisia import 80 percent of their grain from Ukraine and Russia, while Lebanon purchases 60 percent of its supplies from the two countries.

Russian soldiers appear to be planning to extract more supplies from their own land with stolen Ukrainian equipment. But it has not all gone to plan.

A fleet of 27 Ukrainian farm vehicles including combine harvesters and seeders were stolen from a tractor dealer in occupied Melitopol over a several week period.

Their combined value totaled £4million, with the harvesters going for £240,00 each.

But after loading the vehicles onto trucks and carrying them 700 miles to Chechnya, the Russian army realized they couldn't even use them.

A source close to the dealer told CNN: 'When the invaders drove the stolen harvesters to Chechnya, they realized that they could not even turn them on, because the harvesters were locked remotely.'

During his speech to the Irish parliament, Zelensky said Putin has targeted Ukraine's food supply in an effort to starve its people.

'For them, hunger is a weapon against us ordinary people as an instrument of domination', Zelensky added, in comments which may have been intended to reference Ireland's struggle with starvation in the 1840s.

'They are blocking humanitarian access to the half-million people in Mariupol who can no longer melt snow for water', he continued.

He also told Italy's Chamber of Deputies in March that exports of grain and food products will be disrupted as Russia’s invasion continues.

'The worst will be hunger, which is nearing for many countries . . . we do not know what harvest we will have and whether we will be able to export it. Prices are already surging.'

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