Russia has stepped up its attacks on Ukrainian grain export stocks, striking a main inland port across the Danube River from Romania and sending global food prices higher. It is an exclamation point on a continuing story—Russian attacks on global food supplies from Ukraine.
State Department’s Matthew Miller spoke on Wednesday, as buildings burned in the port of Izmail on the Danube, grain spilled out of wrecked silos, and grain ships were halted in their tracks. Miller said, “Just since the end of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, strikes carried out by Russia have destroyed 180-thousand tons of grain inside Ukraine, including 40-thousand tons of grain just in the last 24 hours.”
Days earlier, American Farm Bureau’s Dave Salmonsen voiced concern over Russia’s impact on commercial cargo traffic. Salmonsen says, “What had seemed to be a fairly stable, within a war zone…if there’s anything such as known as stable inside a conflict…way of moving grain, has now been stopped. And Ukraine has to find other ways of getting their grain out.”
But with Danube ports now under attack, slower, more expensive rail routes through Poland will further squeeze Ukraine’s exports. Miller says it’s taking the toll Russia wants while hurting others. Miller, “They are not just targeting people inside Ukraine, but in fact, the whole world, because when they target grain infrastructure, when they target shipping infrastructure, when they destroy grain as they have in the past few weeks, they aren’t just harming Ukraine. They’re harming all the countries around the world.”
Especially impoverished ones in Africa and the Middle East. Ukrainian officials said Moscow hit 26 port facilities, including Odesa, on the Black Sea, five civilian vessels, and almost 200-thousand tons of grain in nine days since quitting the Black Sea grain deal.
Chicago wheat prices rose by nearly five percent after the latest Danube attack as concerns mounted that Ukraine, a top global supplier, would be knocked off the market.