New Delhi [India], September 1 (ANI): Poland on Thursday said that Russia's "indiscriminate shelling" of cities and "strikes against civilians" have left 17.7 million inhabitants of Ukraine, which is 40 per cent of the country's population, in need of protection and humanitarian aid.
Moreover, while contesting Russia's claims of precisely striking only military targets and limiting civilian casualties in the Ukraine war, Poland on Thursday said that in the last 6 months, 13,560 Ukrainian civilians have suffered because of Russian aggression, of which 5,614 people died, while 7,946 people were injured.
At a media briefing on the world food and energy crisis caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Ambassador of Poland to India Adam Burakowski said Poland is helping Ukraine by all possible means and has also helped to evacuate Indian students.
In a statement, Poland Embassy in New Delhi termed Russia's claims of limiting civilian losses a myth and noted that Russian forces are occupying the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and have turned the site into a military base to launch attacks against Ukrainian positions, threatening the world with a nuclear disaster.
"Poland has been supporting Ukraine since the very beginning of the war, extending humanitarian and military help, and welcoming refugees fleeing the war. Since 24 February, 5.934 million people have come to Poland from Ukraine. 90 per cent of them are women and children. Over 1.225 million personal identification numbers have been issued for Ukrainian refugees planning a long-term stay in Poland. 200,000 Ukrainian children have attended Polish schools. In the new school year, starting September 1, there may be as many as 600,000 of them," it added.
According to the Poland Embassy, the country ranks third among European countries providing the most bilateral aid to Ukraine as a share of their own GDP, after Estonia and Latvia. It states that total public and private aid for Ukraine from Poland is estimated to amount to 5.39 billion euros in 2022, which constitutes almost 1 per cent of Poland's GDP.
Commenting over whether sanctions imposed on Russia by the Western countries caused global food insecurity, the Embassy highlighted that "Russia's aggression against Ukraine has created a significant threat to global food security."
"Prior to the invasion, Ukraine's food exports fed 400 million people worldwide. The unlawful invasion of Ukraine ravaged Ukraine's agricultural manufacturing process and blocked nearly 300 cargo ships in Ukrainian ports. The consequences of Russia's aggression are hitting the poorest the hardest."
It claimed that western sanctions target Russia's ability to wage war, not the agricultural sector. "EU sanctions cover only bilateral trade between the EU and Russia, not international trade. The transport of pharmaceutical, medical, agricultural and food products is exempt from sanctions. Currently imposed sanctions are not blocking grain exports and they do not prevent Russia from exporting its fertilisers or exporting grain to vulnerable countries."
The Embassy slammed Russia for "continuing to use food exports as a weapon."
Pointing out grain exports from the Port of Odesa, it noted that on July 22, a breakthrough deal that established safe passage for much-needed grain exports was signed.
"Russia attacked the Port of Odesa less than a day after signing the deal. With Ukraine's grain exports unable to freely move throughout the country and overseas, 13 million additional people could face undernourishment from 2022 to 2023."
It further levelled allegations on Russia for trying to "sell the stolen Ukrainian cereal, which is a serious breach of international law and constitutes a grave threat to the economy of war-torn Ukraine."
"Poland is stepping up its efforts to unblock all existing bottlenecks to export Ukrainian grain via alternative routes. From May to July, almost 400,000 tons of Ukrainian grain entered Poland and at least 483,000 tons of grain were exported from Poland to outside of the EU. With its annual railroad capacities of 15 million tons and an additional 3.8 million tons of maritime capacity, Poland is ready to stand resolute against Russia's agricultural blackmail," it added. (ANI)