Matteo Salvini—the leader of the populist-nationalist Lega who formerly served as Italy’s deputy prime minister and interior minister—has warned that if peace in Ukraine is not realized by the end of May, a worldwide food shortage will precipitate a massive wave of migration from Africa to Europe.
If Ukrainian grain shipments continue to be affected, “significant hunger is expected on the African continent, which will be a humanitarian, then a social, and finally an Italian problem. Without peace, there will be famine in the autumn and 20 million Africans will be ready to leave [Africa],” Salvini said during a press briefing last week, Magyar Hirlap reports.
In light of such a catastrophic prospect, Salvini declared that it’s of the utmost importance for a ceasefire to be reached by the end of the month—something that’s not only crucial for Ukraine and Russia but also for Italy.
The former Italian Interior Minister also called for a meeting with Prime Minister Mario Draghi, who last week returned from the United States, where he met with President Joe Biden to discuss how a ceasefire can be achieved. Senator Salvini then added that European countries were reducing peace prospects through their continued supply of arms to the region.
“If Europe spends 80 billion euros on weapons, it will be difficult to achieve peace, and the more weapons there are, the further away peace gets,” the Lega chief warned.
Salvini, whose party is a coalition member of Italy’s so-called ‘technocratic government,’ called on Prime Minister Draghi to lead peace efforts within the European Union. “There are some in Europe who are for war, but Italy, France, and Germany must act for peace,” he added, speaking against a third delivery of Italian arms to Ukraine.
He also noted that in Italy, according to recent surveys, the majority of the population is against sending weapons to Ukraine, and an even more significant majority is against the increase in military spending.
Before the war’s onset in February, Ukraine was the world’s sixth-largest exporter of wheat, exporting up to 6 million tonnes each month. Earlier this month, the president of the European Investment Bank revealed that more than 8 billion euros of wheat is presently sitting in Ukraine, unable to be exported due to Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports.
If the situation in Ukraine remains unchanged, that wheat is unlikely to reach global markets—and will exacerbate the already fragile global food supply chain.