Italy’s Matteo Salvini, leader of the Italian League, warns that if the conflict in Ukraine does not end soon, chronic food shortages in Africa will cause a massive wave of refugees to land on Italian shores and flood Europe.
The impending refugee crisis could see up to 20 million African migrants making their way into Europe.
“Significant hunger is expected on the African continent, which will be a humanitarian, then a social, and finally an Italian problem,” said Salvini, referring to the shortage of Ukrainian grain supplies, which have been impacted by the Russian invasion.
Ukraine was the sixth largest exported of wheat prior to the conflict, and served as a breadbasket for several African countries that relied almost entirely upon its exports.
“Without peace, there will be famine in the autumn and 20 million Africans will be ready to go,” he said, Summit News reported.
Salvini, who leads Italy’s populist conservative party, warns that the migrant crisis will unfold if a ceasefire is not achieved by the end of May. He stressed that it was essential for Ukraine, Russia, and Italy as well.
Salvini, who served as Italy’s former Minister of the Interior, has called for a meeting with Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who recently returned from a meeting with U.S. President Joe Biden to push for a ceasefire in the region. He said that European countries currently invested in arming Ukraine’s military are making the possibility of peace ever more distant.
“If €80-billion are spent on weapons in Europe, it will be difficult to achieve peace, the more weapons there are, the more distant peace will get,” he warned. “There are those in Europe who are in favor of war, but Italy, France and Germany must act for peace.”
Salvini called for the Italian government to rethink sending a third armed shipment to Ukraine.
As Sky News reported last week, the war has disrupted shipping in the Black Sea and blocked the country from exporting its wheat.
“African markets, many of which were already struggling with food shortages, are among the worst-affected, but the United Nations has already warned that the fall in exports could see food and feed prices worldwide rise by up to 22%,” the publication reported.
“Ukraine is a rich country. Ukraine is the wheat basket of Europe, and it's sitting on €8-billion worth of wheat right now from last year's harvest,” said European Investment Bank’s Werner Hoyer. “They cannot export it, they have no access to the sea. This is one of the key issues that we must address, because they are industrious people.”