The United States says Russia has no reason to scuttle the Black Sea Grains Deal that has now released shipments of more than a million tons of Ukrainian grain and food products and helped mitigate war-fueled inflation. Is Russia again trying to blackmail the West over sanctions, this time threatening the Black Sea grain deal?
State Department senior deputy spokesman Vedant Patel won’t say, but rejects Moscow’s complaints to UN officials.
“US sanctions have always had clear exemptions for food and fertilizer, and our sanctions have never targeted humanitarian aid. We want to see food and fertilizers reach global markets, and Russia must continue to meet its commitments.
Russia has already cut off gas supplies to much of Europe and in recent days has stepped up its threats against the Turkey-UN brokered grain initiative.
“I believe there were allegations that the grain was not going to the countries that needed it,” Patel said. “That’s just not the case either. Through this arrangement, the grain has been able to reach global markets and get to countries that desperately need it.
“And some of these other claims we’ve seen that global food prices are rising just aren’t the case. In fact, world food prices fell as a result of the Black Sea port arrangement.
But the joint shipping controller says continued high fuel and fertilizer prices are “putting immense pressure” on farmers, consumers and the millions of people facing poverty and hunger. Each cleared shipment helps calm markets, boost supplies and “keep farmers producing.”