Why Ukraine And Russia grain Shipments Cannot Reach Global Markets, US Plans Building Silos

By Elizabeth Chukwuma

 President Joe Biden of the North American country US, appears to have realised that the world is facing food crisis due to the Russian-Ukrainian war and now ready to build silos along Ukrainian and Polish borders to facilitate shipment of grains to importing nations.

The US President had   declared recently that the country  is  developing  a plan ‘’to get  the Ukrainian grain out by rail’’, but noted that ‘’the track gauges in Ukraine,  were different  from  those in Europe’’ , meaning that  the east European country’s grain  has’’ to be transferred  ‘’to different trains at the Ukrainian  and Polish land borders’’.  The US government’s plan to build the silos along Ukrainian and Polish   Borders may be taking time as many third world countries and developing economies including some developed nations are gradually heading to food crisis. . Take for instance, in places like the East African country of Ethiopian, where about 8.6 million people were said to be going hungry as the country is pushed ‘’ to a catastrophic hunger crisis’’. 

Biden: US,Presidents, Plans Building Silos Along Ukraine And Poland Borders

Many believe that the US government may have intervened to build silos along the borders of Ukraine and Poland ostensibly to‘’address the global food crisis’’ They noted that Biden may have taken a cue from the steps already taken by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala a formerNigerian minister of Finance and Coordinator of the Economy, during Goodluck Jonathan Administration and no, Director General, WTO, who has been battling since May 2022, to address the global food shortage.

 Only recently, the WTO officials and 120 Trade ministers of the 164 member nations of the world Trade body met in Geneva, Switzerland, for a 4-day conference out to address the need for public stockholding for food security and other issues including agriculture at Geneva, Switzerland.

. In spite of efforts by the US government plans to provide temporary silos along the Ukrainian and Polish borders, the Ukrainian ministry of Agricultural Policy and Food  had said on Tuesday, June 14, 2022, that  the European countries   are considering   providing temporary silos ‘’to preserve  its farmers harvest and secure   its future grain supplies to the world food market’’.  Roman Leshchenko, the Ukrainian minister of Agricultural Policy and Food,   had described ‘’the silos as the best way to get the country’s grain exports through sea shipment’’.

Until the US government agreed to build silos  along Ukraine and Poland borders,Biden had persistently said that ‘’since  the Russian invasion  and Blockade  of the Ukrainian Black sea ports, ’’grain shipments had been  stalled’’, stressing that more than  20 million tonnes of the agricultural produce   are currently being stocked in silos  within Ukraine, which currently faces shortage  of silos  for a new crop. But Dymtro Snikd, the Ukranian minister of Foreig n Affairs had said that 30 million tonnes of the country’s grain are held up in the 20% of its occupied territory in eastern Donetsk region.

  There are indications that about 84 foreign ships, loaded with grain cargoes, are stocked at the Ukranian major sea ports located in the cities of Kherson, Odessa, Sevastopol other ports. Note that Ukraine has 13 ports and numerous river ports on the banks of Dnerpr, the third largest river in Europe and the Boh River.

presideent Zenskiy, oF Ukraine

Andriy Yermak, Chief of Staff    to Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the Ukrainian President had said that’’ the country would need a green corridor for its ports to make export of its grain through the Black sea possible without being blown out of water by the Russian navy’’. He had described the provision of the silos along the Ukrainian boarders and Poland as just one of ‘’the possibly useful steps  in ensuring  global food security in the present circumstances in the world.

 Note that after the Russian invasion on Ukraine, the country’s port operations were said to have been disrupted as a result of blockades and bombings of the Black sea by the Russian fighter Jets. The country’s commercial shipping sector may have crashed   as all maritime routes within the country were cut and major logistic firms forced to suspend their operations as Ukrainian ships in the Black sea and the Azov sea  were repeatedly hit by Russian ammunitions

The ports Odessa and Mariupol, were said to have been temporarily closed by the Ukrainian government as Russia has taken over full control of the Black sea, which may have led to the hike in crude oil prices in the international oil market and food inflation, the world over. The port of Odessa, according to informed sources is the largest in Ukraine, with an annual cargo capacity of 40 million tonnes, designed to handle 900,000 TEUs annually.

  It is instructive to note that the member nations of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, NATO,  US,United Kingdom, UK, Canada, and the European Union, EU, which had imposed economic sanctions on Russian and Belarus to force the two countries to have a rethink on the war and withdraw from all Ukrainian territories may have been disappointed that it is not having the desired effect on the countries alone  but also affected Ukraine.  This may have informed why Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesperson had asked all the NATO, and EU member nations including the UK and Canada, ‘’to lift all direct and indirect economic sanctions against Russiain order for its grain shipments to reach the global markets’’.    

There is no gain saying the fact that the Western nations economic sanctions against Russian over its invasion of Ukraine and subsequent supply of weapons and deployment of soldiers to the country to support the local army in the war may have emboldened the Ukrainian soldiers’’ to mine the country’s seaports which may have stalled the shipments of its grain to the importing nations’’. 

Ukraine Grain Facilities Shutdown

Sergey Larov, Russian Foreign minister, may have alluded to the mining of the ports when he blamed Ukraine over its inability to export its grain produce. Appealing to the Ukrainian government to remove the mines from its ports, he averred that the Volodymyr Zelenskiy led government could still‘’create new corridors to export grains that has been delayed due to the fighting between the two countries, over the last three months’’ without necessarily mining the ports’’.  

 The Russian Foreign minister was said to have told Mevlut Cavusoglu, his Turkish Counterpart that Russia could not have  used  the ongoing war  to gain military advantage , but  would take all necessary steps ‘’to ensure  that  ‘’the ships  loaded with grain and other food items,  leave Ukraine freely’’.

 But the Ukrainian government was said to have made it categorically clear that it would be difficult’’to de-mine the country’s seaports to avoid exposing them to Russian’s attacks by sea’’. Oleg Nikolenko, the Ukrainian ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson may have spoken he mind of the minister, when he said ‘’Russian would not be given room to use the green corridors ‘’ to attack the southern part of Ukraine’’. 

He had said that the Ukrainian government had made its position clear on the mining of the country’s seaports known to the Leadership of the UN and the World Trade Organisation, WTO. He had said that the country would need ‘’military equipment to protect its coastline and an established navy to patrol the export routes in the Black sea to forestall Russian attacks’’.

Recall that Zelenskiy, the Ukrainian President had persistently piled up pressure on the NATO Summit ‘’to flood weapons into Ukraine to sustain the war’’ but the western allies were said to have responded   with new sanctions against Russia, but with a promise of military aid and discussion of expelling Russia from the G20.    

Biden may have gladdened the heart of the Ukrainian government officials and military personnel, when he disclosed recently that he is releasing $1billion in new security assistance package which includes coastal defense weapons and advanced rocket systems, amid fierce fighting in eastern Ukraine.

 Indeed, the Ukrainian government may have known that the war with Russian may not end anytime soon, that it had iopened discussions with the Baltic countries of Lativia and Lithunia, to develop alternate maritime routes to export its grain to the trading partners. At least the first ship, Alpina, carrying 18,000 tonnes of grain, was said to have successfully arrived the north western port of the European country of Spain and was said to have discharged its cargoes on Tuesday, June 14, 2022. 

President Muhammadu Buhari had visited Spain  early June, where he had met with  Pedro Sanchez, the Spanish Prime Minister  at  Mocloa Palace, Madrid, a first visit described as the first ever by any Nigerian past President to the country in the last  17 years. The duo were said to have discussed extensively about the global food crisis and why all efforts must be made to bring the Russia-Ukraine war to an end to avoid throwing the world into severe global food crisis.

  Worried that the global food crisis is getting worse  in some in some member countries of  the 164 –member nations of the WTO,  may have encouraged Antonio Guterres , United Nation, UN’s Secretary General, who is seeking  a ‘’package deal’’  that would  allow for  ‘’the safe  and secure   export  of  Ukrainian produced grains  through  Black sea and unimpeded access to global markets  for Russian food and fertilizer s to have  intensified efforts to actualise the dream.

’’Guterres   had said that   the package deal is essential for hundreds of millions in developing countries and the sub-Saharan Africa. Given what he may have seen on  ground in some of the sub-Saharan countries currently experiencing   food crisis, the UN, Secretary General, had said that  an estimated 94 countries, home to some 1.6 billion  people,  are severely  exposed ‘’to at least one  dimension of the global food crisis and are unable to  cope with it, which is  a signal to famine.  

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