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US Says It Is Working to Identify Alternative Paths for Ukraine Grain Exports

Published: August 16, 2023
The MV Ramus vessel carrying 6,161 tons of wheat from Ukraine is seen anchored in the Marmara sea ahead of an inspection by representatives working for the Joint Coordination Centre inspection team on Aug. 18, 2022 in Istanbul, Turkey. (Image: Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — The United States on Wednesday condemned Russia’s continued attacks on Ukraine’s grain infrastructure and said it was working with partners to identify alternative options to ensure Ukrainian grain exports.

“The United States … calls for Russia to immediately return to the Black Sea Grain Initiative,” State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said in a briefing, referring to a pact that had allowed export of Ukraine grain by the Black Sea. Russia quit the deal on July 17.

Patel said the U.S. was seeking “to possibly find ways and corridors in which we can continue to get grain to the places it needs to go,” without providing details. He added that Washington has not seen any indication from the Russians that they wanted to go back to the deal.

Since quitting the accord, Russia has attacked Ukrainian agricultural and port infrastructure. Exports through the corridor were vital to helping address a global food crisis worsened by Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Overnight air strikes damaged silos and warehouses at Reni on the Danube River, a vital wartime route for food exports, Ukrainian officials said. They posted photos of destroyed storage facilities and piles of scattered grain and sunflowers.

“Putin simply does not care about global food security,” Patel said, adding that Moscow’s attacks were escalating food shortages.

Moscow has repeatedly said that it was ready to return to the deal “immediately” once an accompanying agreement concerning Russian exports was implemented.

Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk, Simon Lewis, Kanishka Singh and Daphne Psaledakis; Editing by Chris Reese and Cynthia Osterman.