MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Global food shortage could be behind the influx of migrants from Africa and the Middle East into Europe, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera ahead of his visit to Milan’s exposition "Expo Milano 2015 — Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life."
Russia has allocated over $200 million to help reduce food shortage worldwide through a number of UN programs, the president said.
"A lot of countries in the world are getting the necessary help and support through these programs using Russian resources," Putin stressed.
Recent studies have suggested that the world will need to produce twice as much food by 20150 as it does now, as its growing population is expected to reach nine billion by that time.
Some 1,800 asylum seekers fleeing conflict-torn North Africa and Middle East states in search of better life conditions have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea in 2015. This is a 20-fold increase over the same period in 2014.
The European Union has established a naval mission to counter illegal migrant trafficking, destroying the boats that people are smuggled in.