Foreign ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations agreed Friday that Russia's invasion of Ukraine, a breadbasket of the world, has triggered the current global food crisis.
The G-7 "made clear that Russia's war against Ukraine is exacerbating food insecurity, including by blocking the Black Sea, bombing grain silos and ports, and damaging Ukraine's agricultural infrastructure," the ministers said in a chair's statement issued after a meeting in Germany.
The food supply issue, mainly due to Moscow's blockade of Ukrainian grain exports via ports on the Black Sea, has negatively affected African and Middle East countries, which are highly dependent on grain imports from Ukraine.
The ministers "rejected Russia's false narrative and disinformation on sanctions," the statement said, in reference to Moscow's claim the food shortages, which have caused global food prices to soar, stem from economic sanctions slapped on Moscow by G-7 nations and other Western countries.
Speaking to reporters after virtually attending the meeting, which was held in a hybrid format, Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi told reporters in Tokyo that some African countries believe Russia's narrative.
"We agreed to express clearly that (the food crisis) is caused by Russia's aggression in Ukraine," which began in late February, Hayashi said.
In the meeting, the top diplomats from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, plus the European Union, focused on "Russia's culpability for aggravating the global food crisis as a result of the war," according to the statement.
All of the G-7 sanctions, however, "include exemptions to allow Russian food and agricultural products to get to global markets," the statement said.
The ministers threw their support behind the United Nations' efforts to urgently reopen a Black Sea route for grain exports, as well as move crops by road, rail and barge to world markets, the statement said.
Friday's session paved the way for a three-day G-7 summit starting Sunday in Schloss Elmau in southern Germany and preceded the July 7-8 foreign ministerial meeting of the Group of 20 major economies on the Indonesian island of Bali, with the planned participation of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
Later Friday, the G-7 foreign ministers held expanded talks with food crisis-hit countries, such as Mauritania and the United Arab Emirates, and related international organizations on ways to address the global food security issue.