The U.S. slammed Russia for canceling the Black Sea Grain Initiative, its attack on Ukraine’s export facilities, and its threat to again blockade Ukrainian grain exports. State Department Spokesman Matthew Miller says it’s clear that Russia continues to use food as a “weapon of war”.
Miller says, “To try to hurt the Ukrainian economy. Two, to use food as leverage with other countries, to try to bring countries around to their side, and three, because they profit from it. When the global price of grain increases, as it has already done in the last 24 hours since they announced the end of this initiative, Russia profits from that because Russia’s grain exports can continue to move.”
Most of it went to developed nations, while 65 percent of Ukraine’s exports have gone to some of the world’s most vulnerable countries and people, largely in the Middle East and Africa. “As a result of Moscow’s inhumane and unilateral actions, we are already seeing a spike in global wheat, corn, and soybean prices,” according to Miller. “Meanwhile, Russia continues to reap record profits from its grain exports.”
The UN says the grain initiative had stabilized grain and food prices, enabling 32 million metric tons of exports, including the equivalent of nearly 18 billion loaves of bread. As for using Danube ports and EU routes, Miller says “you would see the production of grain from Ukraine cut by over half. In addition, those are more expensive modes of transportation. So, in addition to the price going up because there’s less supply, the price would go up because these are such expensive routes.”
Miller denies Russia’s claim that the G-7 nations, including the U.S., are restricting Russian grain exports with sanctions. Miller argues the U.S. will not deny food to people around the world who need it.