The EU backs United Nation efforts to mediate a deal between Ukraine, Russia and Turkey to get the grain out but these have failed to make any headway so far.

The 27-nation bloc has struggled to counter Moscow’s claims that rising prices and shortfalls in the Middle East and Africa are down to EU sanctions imposed over the invasion of Ukraine.

“I want to insist that it’s not European sanctions that are creating this crisis—our sanctions don’t target food, don’t target fertilisers,” Borrell said.

“The problem comes from the Russian blockade of Ukrainian grains.”

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna insisted that “Russia must stop playing with global hunger” as it seeks leverage on the West.

“Leaving cereals blocked is dangerous for stability in the world,” she said.

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