December 7, 2023,
The United States joined representatives from Romania, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, and the European Union for another high-level meeting in Tulcea, Romania to find mutually beneficial solutions to sustain a high volume of Ukrainian grain exports, improve resilience and flexibility in regional trades routes, and combat food insecurity caused by Russia’s decision to withdraw from the Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI) and attack global food supply.
Russia’s unilateral withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative (BSGI) and its attacks on port and grain infrastructure in Ukraine disrupted grain markets and global food security – including in the Global South and food insecure countries around the world. BSGI helped stabilize lower food prices by nearly 20 percent after Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine caused spikes in global food prices. While Moscow choses to weaponize food, Romania, Ukraine, the Republic of Moldova, the United States, and the European Union pursue viable solutions to counter Russia’s callous actions. This fifth multilateral gathering of high-level representatives shows their resolve and commitment to standing with Ukraine and increasing Ukrainian grain exports to the global market despite Russia’s destructive actions.
During the meeting in Tulcea, participants recognized the instrumental role played by Romania and Moldova in facilitating the export of millions of tons of Ukrainian grain that has been critical in averting widespread hunger and reinforcing global food security efforts. Participants also recognized the substantial benefits the acceleration of Ukrainian grain exports would bring the populations of Ukraine, Romania, and Moldova. Efforts to modernize rail, river, and port infrastructure not only enhance efficiency but also stimulate economic growth within the three countries and the region. Upgraded transportation networks lead to increased trade activity, generating employment opportunities and contributing to the countries’ revenue. Construction, maintenance, and operation of crucial transport infrastructure, creates jobs for transportation workers prospects and increases economic prosperity.
These measures underscore substantive progress towards enhancing grain exports from Ukraine. In this context, it is vital to dispel Russia’s disinformation campaign blaming sanctions for the global food security crisis. United States has not imposed sanctions on the export of Russian agricultural commodities. Russia’s agricultural exports exceed pre-war levels and could be even higher if not for Russia’s self-imposed export restrictions. Russia must stop its cruel actions. It must permit the shipment of life-sustaining grain that feeds millions around the world. It must stop targeting stored grain and ports. It must stop threatening ships of non-combatant countries. Russia must stop weaponizing food.
Today’s meeting was attended by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs James O’Brien, U.S. Ambassador to Romania Kathleen Kavalec, who joined Romanian Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Sorin Grindeanu, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov, Moldovan State Secretary in the Ministry of Infrastructure and Regional Development Mircea Pascaluta, and Director General of European Mobility and Transport Magda Kopczynska.
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