The United States is working with Romania and the Republic of Moldova to increase Ukraine's grain exports using the Danube River route. This was stated by a senior US State Department official on Wednesday, according to Reuters.
"We want to support alternative routes: this is first of all the route through the Danube. This route remains within NATO's territorial waters. So it is quite attractive for us because it keeps transport within a safe corridor. This route can be a place to transport a significant amount of cargo. So we will try to double the amount of cargo moving along the Danube. In the coming weeks, a meeting with the Romanians and Moldovans will take place to discuss how to increase the amount of cargo moving through the Danube," said the U.S. official, who spoke to the service anonymously.
The agreement to transport Ukrainian grain across the Black Sea, which was agreed with the participation of Turkey and the United Nations in July 2022, allowed for safe exports from Ukrainian ports. However, last month Moscow withdrew from the deal, accusing the West of promoting its own grain and fertilizers, leaving Russian products unsold. The deal was intended to combat the global food crisis and allowed the export of nearly 33 million tonnes of Ukrainian grain. Since the abandonment of the agreement until today, grain prices have seen a sharp increase, and Russian forces have targeted Ukrainian ports several times with missiles and drones.
All of the above is a consequence of the fact that Ukraine is a major world producer and exporter of cereals. Under normal circumstances, Kiev exports millions of tons of food from its deep Black Sea ports, such as Odessa and Nikolaev. Since Russia's withdrawal of Black Sea grain last month, the Ukrainians have relied mainly on the Danube transport route.
Washington is working with Turkey in an effort to bring Russia back into the grain deal, the U.S. official said.
"We are not directly involved in the negotiations, but our teams are working closely with the UN and the Turks to support the effort to continue the deal," the official said.