According to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, it is necessary to ensure the salvation of the winter harvest of Ukrainian grain, which may disappear due to the lack of storage facilities.
The construction of temporary grain storage facilities on the border with Ukraine will prevent Russia from stealing Ukrainian grain and ensure that the country’s winter harvest will not be lost due to the lack of storage facilities, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said.
However, during a visit to the UN headquarters, Vilsack stressed that the resumption of supplies through the Ukrainian Black Sea ports is the most effective and efficient way to export grain, and called on Russia to “seriously” take negotiations under the auspices of the UN on this issue.
“We know about the circumstances and the situation in which this happened – the Russians took grain from Ukrainian farmers. So to the extent that we can take him out of the country, this is a plus that reduces the risk of loss,” Vilsack told reporters.
Russia, which invaded neighboring Ukraine on February 24, denies stealing Ukrainian grain. The American company Maxar Technologies, specializing in satellite image processing, said on Thursday that Russian-flagged vessels had been transporting Ukrainian grain to Russia’s ally Syria over the past few months.
President Joe Biden said Tuesday that temporary storage facilities will be built along the border with Ukraine to help export more grain and solve the growing global food crisis.
“We would like the ports to be open because this is the most efficient way to transport grain, but it will still take time even if the ports open,” Vilsack said.
He stressed that additional storage facilities are also needed, because Ukraine will soon harvest the crops sown in winter.
After the invasion of Russia and the blockade of ports, the export of Ukrainian grain stopped and more than 20 million tons were stuck in grain elevators. The war contributed to the outbreak of the global food crisis, accompanied by a sharp rise in prices for grain, vegetable oil, fuel and fertilizers.
The United States and the European Union have said that Russian food and fertilizers are not subject to sanctions. However, they pledged to explain the situation to companies engaged in the import of Russian goods.
Russia on Wednesday offered to provide “safe passage” to merchant ships for grain shipments from Ukrainian ports, but said it would not be responsible for creating security corridors. Turkey believes that grain ships will be able to bypass areas of minefields. In turn, Ukraine fears that the demining of the sea area will make its coast much more vulnerable to Russian naval invasion.