Canada pledges funds as G-7 develops response to famine fallout from Russian invasion
Canada pledged $50 million to prevent Ukrainian grain from being wasted on Sunday as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged to work with G-7 countries on new measures to end the famine caused by the Russian invasion of the besieged country.
The fallout from the ongoing Russian offensive dominated the first day of talks between leaders of the world’s most developed economies, gathered in Germany for three days of meetings.
Issues related to the invasion were the main topic of a four-day summit between Commonwealth heads of government that ended Saturday in Kigali, Rwanda, and are expected to guide the agenda for the next summit in NATO in Madrid, Spain, which is scheduled to begin on Wednesday.
A global grain shortage is currently threatening large swaths of Africa with famine. Trudeau and other G-7 leaders have blamed Russia squarely for targeting grain silos in Ukraine to attack and limit exports by blockading the country’s major ports.
The first leaders’ session on Sunday focused on the global economy at a time when conflict and unrest are driving up prices and access to key goods around the world.
In an announcement released the same day, Canada promised to ship grain storage equipment to Ukraine so it can store this year’s crop and hopefully bring it to market.
This would include mobile silos, Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said in an interview from Canada.
Other food storages were also impacted. Last week, in the Ukrainian port of Mykolaiv, a vegetable oil storage facility owned by a Canadian-Dutch company, Viterra, was hit by a Russian missile strike.
“The Everi terminal handles vegetable oil that is 100% for human consumption,” said Jeff Cockwill, a Regina-based Viterra spokesman.
“Fortunately, there were no fatalities and we have confirmed that one employee suffered minor burns and received medical attention.
Meanwhile, Canada hopes to have wheat production 44% higher than last year, Bibeau said, noting that the spike will boost supplies from the developing world as well as countries in the Middle East, India. Asia and Africa that depend on Ukrainian grain.
She said the government and Canada’s grain farmers were “all on deck” to get as much grain as possible to developing countries facing hunger.
Trudeau promised more progress would be made at the G7 talks.
The Prime Minister arrived in Germany early Sunday morning. He was greeted at Munich airport by a musical welcome party, including former Liberal leader and Canadian ambassador to Germany Stéphane Dion.
From there, he boarded a helicopter bound for Schloss Elmau, a luxurious secluded mountaintop retreat in the Bavarian Alps where the G-7 summit is taking place.
His first step was a bilateral meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who underscored the unity shown by the G-7 countries in the face of aggression against Ukraine.
The G-7 and other nations have closed ranks and issued sanctions against Russia since the February invasion and have collectively spent billions to send aid and weapons to the beleaguered country.
But Russian President Vladimir Putin retaliated by reducing access to his country’s natural gas supply in some European countries, including Germany, Europe’s largest economy.
During an appearance hosted by German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and US President Joe Biden, Trudeau reinforced the G-7’s commitment to move away from fossil fuels.
He did not speak about Canada’s position on easing regulations to ease the immediate crisis, and did not take questions, but told Rwanda on Saturday that leaders should discuss a solution.
“How we get there in the short term, how we build for the medium term, how we make sure the long term is covered, that’s exactly what we’re going to be talking about over the next few days. Not just with our fellow leaders. of the G-7, but with leaders from around the world who will join us in Germany to tackle this problem,” Trudeau said at a press conference in Kigali on Saturday following the Commonwealth meeting. .
India is not a G-7 country, but Scholz has invited the country’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, to participate in the talks.
India, which has emerged as a growing market for Russian oil, abstained in a March vote at the United Nations condemning Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Modi, meanwhile, opted out of the Commonwealth Summit and instead met virtually with leaders from Russia, China, Brazil and South Africa.
Trudeau said he spoke to Scholz about the need to invest in infrastructure to help Europe wean off Russian oil, adding that Canada can be part of the solution.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is expected to address G-7 leaders on the second day of the summit.