The Ukrainian president addressed the Irish parliament on Wednesday and accused Russia of targeting Ukraine’s agricultural sector and using hunger as a weapon.
“Our new fuel storage depot was hit by Russia,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his historic address. “They are destroying things that are sustaining livelihoods to people – fuel storage, food storage, agricultural equipment, mining fields.
“They have also blocked all of our seaports together with vessels which had agricultural cargo for export. Why are they doing this? For them, hunger is also a weapon, a weapon against our ordinary people, an instrument of domination.”
Ukraine is a major exporter of foodstuffs such as wheat, corn, and sunflower oil.
He said Ukraine was one the leading food supplying countries in the world, and that “more than a dozen countries will have shortages – this is the reality for millions of people who are hungry, especially in northern Africa.”
The Ukrainian head of state said Russia is undermining the Ukrainian state, destroying its infrastructure, and “deliberately” provoking a food price rise. “There will be political turbulence and violence and new refugees will be looking to save their lives.”
Zelenskyy called for further sanctions against Russia, and said: “They’re still looking forward to subduing and occupying all of the Ukrainian people, we want to do our best to make sure that Russia will start looking for peace and leave us alone.”
The Russia-Ukraine war, which started on Feb. 24, has drawn international outrage, with Western countries and their allies implementing tough financial sanctions on Moscow.
At least 1,480 civilians have been killed in Ukraine and 2,195 injured, according to UN estimates, with the true figure feared to be far higher.
More than 4.24 million Ukrainians have also fled to other countries, with millions more internally displaced, according to the UN refugee agency.