According to UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, famine caused by grain and food shortages as a result of Ukraine’s invasion could kill more people than the war itself.
Poland has become a major entry point for Western humanitarian aid and weapons into Ukraine, as well as a conduit for Ukraine’s grain and other agricultural products to reach global markets.
Dominic Waghorn, Sky’s international affairs editor, is in Odesa on the Black Sea coast, where massive grain ships are stranded and unable to leave.
He stated that the UK is discussing a solution with European allies such as Lithuania and is considering sending warships to the area in an attempt to persuade Russia to withdraw.
“Last year, 400 million people were fed by Ukraine’s grain,” he said, adding that any ship attempting to leave the ports now faces attack.
Heavy fighting has erupted in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, with Russian forces increasing their bombardment beyond the frontline, according to the UK Ministry of Defence.
Moscow is meeting stiff Ukrainian resistance in its attempt to encircle and consolidate the area around the city of Sievierodonetsk. Cities not under Russian control have been constantly shelled, and one Ukrainian official said Russian forces targeted civilians fleeing.
Russian control of the Luhansk region is the main focus, but not the only Russian effort in the Donbas capture campaign, according to the ministry.
Russia is determined to seize the eastern industrial heartland of coal mines and factories, according to the MoD’s daily intelligence briefing, but Ukraine’s long-established Joint Force Operation likely retains effective command and control of that front.
Meanwhile, US Vice President Joe Biden has stated that Russia’s “brutal and unprovoked war against Ukraine has resulted in a human catastrophe.”
“It appears to me that Putin is attempting to extinguish a culture,” he said at the start of the Quad summit between the leaders of the United States, Japan, Australia, and India.
“He’s not even aiming at military targets anymore; he’s bombing every school, every church… as if to obliterate Ukrainian culture, and the world has to deal with it, and we are.”
On Monday night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for “maximum” sanctions against Russia, including an embargo on Russian oil, a complete halt to trade, and the withdrawal of foreign firms. He was addressing the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, via video.
Later, Mr Zelensky stated that four missiles killed 87 people last week in Desna, 34 miles north of Kyiv, in one of the war’s deadliest single strikes.
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