Russia Ukraine conflict

UN food agency seeks access in Ukraine war zones

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The United Nations appealed Friday for access to Ukrainians trapped in war zones, saying those besieged were starving to death.

The Rome-based World Food Program (WFP), which has been operating in Ukraine since the start of the conflict, says it has delivered food assistance to 1.4 million people.

It has not been allowed access to conflict zones, including the southern port city of Mariupol whose population of 100,000 is surrounded by Russia’s army, and the heavily-shelled Mykolaiv east of Odessa.

“We’re calling on everyone to give us the access we need to reach the people in besieged cities,” WFP Executive Director David Beasley said in a statement.

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“It’s one thing when people are suffering from the devastation of war. It’s another thing when they’re being starved to death.”

WFP said it was preparing to deliver food to 2.3 million people this month, but needed safe access.

In areas around the capital Kyiv where the Russian army has retreated, such as Bucha and Irpin, the agency is distributing pasta, rice, cooking oil and canned meat to civilians.

More than seven million people are displaced inside Ukraine with the normal supply chains to deliver food to the population “broken down in many areas,” WFP said.

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