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Biden: US to build silos on Polish border to export Ukrainian grain

U.S. officials and lawmakers also fear that food shortages, along with rising fuel and food prices, could cause mass starvation, political unrest and migration in parts of Africa, the Middle East and possibly Central America in the coming months.

Biden said on Tuesday the grain could not be shipped through the Black Sea “because it would be blown out of the water” by the Russian naval blockade. The United States has so far ruled out sending military ships to the region, which would risk Russian retaliation.

Biden noted that the United States was working on a plan to export the grain through other countries by rail, but acknowledged that land routes were plagued with logistical problems. Rail routes can only carry a fraction of the grain Ukraine normally exports from its Black Sea ports and Ukrainian trains operate on a wider rail gauge than the rest of the tracks in Europe use. Biden suggested building silos is a better option right now and could help buy Ukraine time.

Talks are underway between the United Nations and Russia, and separately with Turkey, which aims to broker a deal with Russia to allow Ukraine to restart grain exports through the Black Sea. But Biden administration officials and U.S. lawmakers are skeptical of Russia’s efforts, as Moscow demands sanctions relief in return.

“It is difficult to consider Russian offers in good faith given how they are actively and intentionally destroying food products in Ukraine and exacerbating global food insecurity,” a US official recently told POLITICO.

Russian forces continue to target grain silos and agricultural infrastructure in Ukraine, while stealing grain from the country, U.S. and Ukrainian officials said.

“We believe that Russia stole several hundred thousand tons of grain from Ukraine and then sent it on small ships from Russian ports,” Jim O’Brien, sanctions official at the Department of State, POLITICO and other journalists. “Now this grain has found its way to Russia’s friends.”


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