BERLIN - Setting up reliable transport routes for grain from Ukraine is a top priority to prevent a global food crisis and will be a leading topic at a conference on the supply strains on Friday, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said.

German Agriculture Minister Cem Oezdemir, speaking at a joint news conference with Baerbock, said Ukraine was being blackmailed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, and therefore it was necessary to develop new transport routes for the long term.

Germany will spend four billion euros ($4.2 billion) this year to combat hunger globally, said Development Minister Svenja Schulze.

Baerbock added at a later news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken that international partners were working together to counter Russia's potentially destabilizing grains war and the corresponding propaganda.

The European Union's ambassador to Russia had requested a meeting with Russia's deputy foreign minister to discuss food security, according to a ministry statement on Friday.

Russia's deputy foreign minister blamed U.S. and EU sanctions for food shortages and accused the West of leading a propaganda campaign against it in the Thursday meeting, it said.

(Reporting by Kirsti Knolle, Editing by Miranda Murray, Editing by William Maclean)