Ralph Goodale, Canada's high commissioner to the United Kingdom, has accused Vladimir Putin of "unconscionable depravity" for denying hungry people in African countries and other developing nations access to grain from Ukraine.

In remarks on Wednesday in London, Goodale said Russian troops have stopped grain exports from Ukraine, denying hungry people the food they need to survive.

He said the Russians are also stealing farm supplies and equipment and blockading Ukraine's ports, with deadly implications for African countries and other nations that rely on its wheat to survive.

Ukraine is one of the world's biggest exporters of wheat and sunflower oil, with developing countries in the Middle East and Africa among its biggest customers.

The World Food Program has warned that the Russian invasion has not only threatened crucial supplies of Ukrainian wheat, a staple food, to nations that rely on it, but sparked a rise in grain prices making it more expensive for aid organisations to feed the world's poor.

Goodale said Ukraine had a pretty good grain crop last year and would normally be shipping its crops to feed people in Africa and elsewhere.

The high commissioner said Canada, the world's third largest exporter of wheat, is looking at how it can fill the gap and provide emergency food.

In a speech to the Canada-United Kingdom Chamber of Commerce in the House of Lords, Goodale said supply chains, already in disarray because of the COVID-19 pandemic, have been made worse by "Putin's war."

"The world … has to come to grips with the global repercussions, caused by Putin far beyond Ukraine, in worldwide food and energy markets," he said, warning that for Africa "the implications could be deadly."

Putin guilty of 'depravity' for denying hungry Africans #grain from Ukraine: Goodale. #FoodSecurity #FoodSupply #UkraineRussia #UkraineInvasion

The High Commissioner said "denying hungry people the food they need to survive" by effectively blockading Ukraine from the Black Sea and stopping grain exports was "unconscionable depravity."

"But that’s what you get with Putin," he remarked.

"Never before has a P5 country — one with a veto on the UN Security Council — behaved in such a cruel, violent and blatantly illegal manner," he said, referring to the permanent five members of the Security Council.

He said Russia's invasion was "naked imperial aggression at its worst, compounded by war crimes, crimes against humanity, sexual violence and the mass graves of innocent civilians."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 11, 2022.

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