Russia blocks food aid from humanitarian convoys in Ukraine

Hunger is a tool Russians have been using in war for decades, according to Daria Kaleniuk, Executive Director of the Anti-Corruption Action Center. She says the military is intentionally blocking food aid for Ukrainian citizens trapped in the city.

“There is no way to deliver humanitarian aid to them, no way to deliver food to them because Russians are shelling with missiles all humanitarian convoys, all infrastructure and ability to deliver food for hundreds of thousands of people.”

U.S. lawmakers included $13.6 billion of aid for Ukraine in the recent spending package, but Kaleniuk criticized the red tape that she says comes with it.

“It goes not to Ukraine, it goes not to feed people who are now in desperate situations-- dying from hunger This aid goes to international organizations with huge bureaucracy who are not starting even to work in Ukraine and not go and deliver this aid to the most dangerous places.”

She says the money would be better spent with local organizations that are already on the ground. USAID will also be part of the relief effort and Assistant Administrator Sarah Charles says that includes work to keep grain exports flowing.

“Our development programming in Ukraine is working very closely with the Ukrainian Ministry of Agriculture. Their estimates right now are that Ukraine may be able to plant for the spring season and yield something in the range of 50 percent of what a normal harvest might be from that spring crop. The challenge, of course, remains critical supply critical inputs to that, including diesel.”

The agency is also working with their counterparts in the European Union.

“The focus of these discussions in the last couple of weeks have been as much about response to the global impact of Ukraine’s war on global food security, as well. So, the French, the European Union, the Germans, the United Kingdom, these are critical partners in our response.”

She says US-AID is also considering food aid for African countries that rely heavily on Ukraine for grain, including Yemen, where the price of bread has risen by 62% since the start of the war.


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