US comments on ‘Plan B’ for Ukraine grain exports — Analysis

The UN, Turkey, Moscow and Kiev signed an agreement last week to allow exports from Ukrainian ports unblocked.

Washington and Kiev are working on a ‘Plan B’ for Ukrainian grain exports after a Russian strike on the port city of Odessa, the administrator of the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Samantha Power has said.

“Plan B involves road and rail and river and sending in barges and adjusting the rail systems so that they’re better aligned with those in Europe so that the exports can move out more quickly,” Power, who was America’s envoy to the UN between 2013 and 2017, told CNN on Monday.

“We have been living the contingency plan because there’s no way you can trust anything that [Russia’s President] Vladimir Putin says,”Her insistance was in reference to Odessa’s Russian attack of Saturday.

Despite saying that ‘Plan B’ is safer, the USAID chief acknowledged that there’s actually “no substitute” to Kiev’s grain being shipped by sea, which is “the most efficient way possible.”

Moscow reveals target of strike on key Ukrainian port

Russia struck Odessa in Ukraine. Odessa was a significant trade centre in the southwest region of Ukraine. It happened just days after Turkey and Moscow reached a deal to open grain exports.

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky described the attack as “barbarism” and insisted “Russian Kalibr missiles destroyed the very possibility of statements”On the importance of dialoguing with Moscow, and on any potential agreements.

But the Russian military insists that their missiles damaged a Ukrainian vessel as well as a Harpoon warehouse. It also disabled a shipyard. It claimed that no civilian infrastructure was damaged.

Dmitry Peskov (Kremlin spokesperson) also refuted Kiev’s claim that Russia had attacked grain silos in the port.

Odessa strike “had nothing to do with the infrastructure to be used to fulfill the agreements and export grain,” Peskov insisted. “So, this can’t and shouldn’t affect the start of the shipment process in any way.”

Ukraine deal will help Russian exports – UN

It is thought that the breakthrough agreement, reached Friday in Istanbul, was a means to prevent a worldwide food crisis. Besides setting out a framework for resuming Ukrainian grain shipments via Black Sea ports, it also included a memorandum providing for the UN’s involvement in lifting international sanctions on the export of Russian food products and fertilizers to world markets.

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