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Blinken announces $215 million in new emergency food assistance for Ukraine

<i>Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout/Reuters</i><br/>US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy shake hands in Kyiv
Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout/Reuters
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy shake hands in Kyiv

By Kylie Atwood, Haley Burton and Devan Cole, CNN

The US will give Ukraine an additional $215 million in emergency food assistance to help the country battle the humanitarian crisis brought on by Russia’s invasion, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Wednesday, as he called on other countries to swiftly act in order to tackle the growing global food crisis.

“Today, given the urgency of the crisis, we’re announcing another $215 million in new emergency food assistance, and we’ll do much more,” Blinken said at the United Nations during a ministerial meeting on global food security. “We expect our Congress very soon to approve approximately $5.5 billion in additional funding for humanitarian assistance and food security.”

Blinken also said that the US would be committing $500 million to boost US production of fertilizer. The new assistance comes as there is an increased need for fertilizer in countries that typically got it from Russia, which is the world’s largest exporter of fertilizer. The cost of fertilizer, essential for farmers to hit their production targets for crops, has also risen as output in Europe has plunged due to the surging price of natural gas — a key ingredient in nitrogen-based fertilizers like urea.

Blinken called on other countries that have fertilizer and grain, which is also facing global shortages because of the war in Ukraine, to quickly pitch in to alleviate the effects of the crisis.

“The cost of doing business for vital organizations like the World Food Programme, the Food and Agricultural Organization, UNICEF and others, the cost of doing business is going up. We have to help them continue to do their business,” Blinken said.

“In particular as well, countries with significant grain and fertilizer reserves, as well as those with financial resources, need to step up and do it fast. The United States has announced more than $2.3 billion in new funding for emergency food assistance to meet global humanitarian needs since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” the secretary added.

The US has made it clear it intends to provide long-term support to Ukraine and has already provided the nation with billions of dollars in military and humanitarian assistance.

Earlier this month, President Joe Biden announced an additional $150 million worth of security assistance to Ukraine in the form of “additional artillery munitions, radars, and other equipment.” The new security assistance package follows the President’s $33 billion proposal last month to Congress to support the country.

Last week, the President blamed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for domestic price hikes and global food supply shortages, citing the millions of tons of Ukrainian crops that are not being exported because of the invasion.

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CNN’s Maegan Vazquez and Sam Fossum contributed to this report.

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