Time is running out to de-mine Ukraine's Black Sea ports and set up a sea corridor for Ukrainian grain exports amid the looming threat of a "terrible" global food crisis, Italy's premier Mario Draghi warned on Thursday.
"We have two weeks to de-mine the ports. The harvest will be in at the end of September. This are deadlines facing us as we head ever-closer to catastrophe," Draghi said.
He was speaking at a joint press conference with Germany's Chancellor Chancellor Olaf Scholz, France's president Emmanuel Macron and Romania's president Klaus Iohannis during a visit to Kiev.
"To avert this terrible event, we need to create safe sea corridors for the grain exports, because the Ukraine conflict must not jeopardise food security," Draghi underlined.
Draghi said he hoped for a United Nations resolution on unblocking the 22 million tonnes of wheat, whose export from Ukraine's ports was halted by Russia's invasion in February and naval blockade.
"The only possible solution is a UN resolution," Draghi said.
Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelenksy is "ready" to cooperate in unblocking the country's crucial grain exports but "Russia has refused to until now", Draghi stated.
Russia and Ukraine together account for nearly a third of global wheat supply.