The Royal Navy could be sent to the Black Sea under plans to create a “protective corridor” to allow ships carrying Ukrainian grain to leave the country.
Britain is in talks with its allies, including Lithuania, to form an “Alliance of Wills” to help Russia lift the blockade of Ukrainian ports. Egypt and other countries that depend on Ukrainian agricultural products would also benefit.
If this is possible, the waters near the coast of Ukraine will have to be cleared of mining before exports can resume.
Millions of tonnes of Ukrainian grain, typically shipped worldwide, remain in silos across the country, triggering fears of a worsening global food crisis. The heat wave has raised concerns in countries like India, with lower-than-expected crop yields.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis, who met British Foreign Minister Liz Truss earlier this week in London, stressed that Ukraine should allow grain exports to alleviate food insecurity.
“Russia’s blockade on Odessa must be removed and we must allow Ukraine to feed the world,” he said on Monday.
UK Transport Minister Grant Shapps expressed similar concerns on the matter on Tuesday, which has resulted in significant price increases due to reduced food supplies.
“We’re looking at different options…there are a lot of potential ways to take grain and other commodities overseas,” he said.
“Otherwise there could be a lot of starvation and famine.”
Last week, UN World Food Program director David Beasley urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to lift the naval blockade “to provide food for the poor and avoid famine”.
However, Russia has said it will not consider taking the action unless Western sanctions are considered.