U.S. and Western officials have been exploring efforts to build temporary grain silos in Ukraine and other countries as a means of rapidly expanding Ukraine’s grain storage capacity.
President Joe Biden said Tuesday that the United States will build temporary granaries along Poland’s border with Ukraine to facilitate food exports from the war-torn country and address soaring food prices during the Russian invasion.
“We’re going to build silos, temporary silos along the Ukrainian border, including Poland. So we can move [grain] from these cars into silos and cars in Europe, and then it’s going to the ocean, and then it’s going all over the world. But it will take time,” Biden said during a speech at the AFL-CIO conference in Philadelphia, where he discussed potential solutions to rising food prices across the country.
U.S. and Western officials have been exploring the establishment of temporary granaries in Ukraine and other countries as a means of rapidly expanding Ukraine’s grain storage capacity, and Russia’s naval blockade is preventing the world’s food supply from exceeding 25 million tons of grain. Russia’s Black Sea blockade subverts global trade routes, while threatening to stifle Ukraine economically and deepen hunger crises around the world.Ukrainian farmers will start harvesting summer wheat next month but have nowhere to store them, Ukrainian officials have warned.
U.S. officials and lawmakers are also concerned that food shortages and rising fuel and food prices could spark mass starvation, political unrest and migration in parts of Africa, the Middle East and even Central America in the coming months.
Biden said on Tuesday that the grain could not be shipped through the Black Sea “because it would be blown out of the water by Russia’s naval blockade.”The United States has now ruled out sending warships to the region, which could be subject to Russian retaliation.
Biden noted that the U.S. has been working on a plan to export grain by rail through other countries, but acknowledged that the overland route is fraught with logistical problems.Rail lines can only carry a fraction of the grain that Ukraine typically exports from its Black Sea ports, and Ukrainian trains have a wider gauge than those used by other European railways.Biden said building silos is a better option for now and could help Ukraine buy some time.
Negotiations are underway between the United Nations and Russia and with Turkey, which aims to reach 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.
A U.S. official recently told POLITICO: “Given how aggressively and deliberately Russia is destroying Ukrainian food and contributing to global food insecurity, it is difficult to take Russia’s proposal in good faith.”
U.S. and Ukrainian officials say Russian troops continue to target Ukrainian granaries and agricultural infrastructure while stealing food from the country.
“We believe that Russia stole hundreds of thousands of tons of grain from Ukraine and shipped it out of Russian ports in small boats,” State Department sanctions chief Jim O’Brien told POLITICO and other reporters recently.”Now, these grains end up in the hands of friends in Russia.”
Post time: Aug-01-2022