Russia Continues to Strike Ukrainian Ports, Turkey Hopeful for New Grain Deal

September 5, 2023 5:19 PM
Ukrainian grain storage were destroyed in an attack. Photo via US State Dept.

Russian drones struck Ukrainian grain ports over the weekend, a day before Russian President Vladimir Putin continued to dash hopes of a renewed grain deal.

Putin met with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on Monday to discuss the grain deal, which Russia withdrew from in July. While Erdogan remains hopeful about the potential for a renewed grain deal, Putin continues to refuse to enter a deal until Russia gets what was promised under the original terms.

There is a dispute over whether Russia’s agricultural demands were met, the Associated Press reported. Putin claims they have not been, while Western nations say they have. Since Russia pulled out of the grain deal in July, the country has targeted grain ports in Ukraine, most recently striking ports on the Danube River on Sept. 3.

The Danube River has become a central part of Ukraine’s infrastructure for exporting grain since the grain deal ended, CNBC reported. Although Ukraine is still trying to use the Black Sea for grain exports, Russia has said it will treat any commercial ships heading to and from Ukraine as military assets.

Erdogan and Putin met in Sochi, Russia, Monday to discuss the grain deal. Turkey, along with the U.N., brokered the original deal, which allowed 32,856,036 tonnes of foodstuff to be exported before it ended.

Erdogan said that the U.N. and Turkey have put up a new proposal with different that would address Russian concerns.

The Turkish president also called on Ukraine to soften its demands. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that while the country would take note of Erdogan’s request, Kyiv does not currently plan to alter its negotiating stance.

The U.S. has repeatedly called on Russia to rejoin the grain deal, noting that the foodstuffs exported from Ukraine go to feed countries around the world. While there have been other countries that have stepped up to fulfill needs left by the lack of Ukrainian grain, the lack of exports huts the Ukrainian economy, USNI News previously reported.

The U.S. State Department took to X, the site formerly known as Twitter, to decry the lack of a grain deal and the continuous attacks on Ukrainian ports.

“Instead of restarting the @UN Black Sea Grain Initiative, which provided much-needed food around the world, President Putin is attacking grain ports. We could feed some of the world’s hungriest people if Russia stops its attacks and rejoins the Black Sea Grain Initiative,” the State Department said via X Sept. 4.

Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder did not have any additional details about the recent attacks on Ukrainian ports when asked. He referred reporters to the State Department for additional details on the grain deal.

“What we see is Russia using food as a weapon against people who need it most,” Ryder said.

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio is a reporter with USNI News. She has a master’s degree in science journalism and has covered local courts, crime, health, military affairs and the Naval Academy.
Follow @hmongilio

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