Lavrov Turkey trip not to resolve Ukraine grain exports issue: US
The United States does not believe that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov visiting Turkey would help break the deadlock surrounding the issue of grain exports from Ukraine.
The United States does not believe that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov's trip to Ankara later this week to hold talks with Turkish officials will resolve the issue of getting grain exports out of Ukraine, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Monday.
"I am confident that one meeting alone won't be able to solve this challenge," Price told a press briefing. "This will be a challenge that will, of course, need to involve Ukraine at the center."
Lavrov said earlier on Monday that he planned on discussing potential mechanisms to unblock grain exports during his upcoming visit to Turkey.
If Ankara is ready to help clear the water of the ports of mines for the export of Ukrainian grain, the Russian and Turkish Armed Forces will be able to agree on the best way to conduct this affair, Lavrov explained.
Lavrov had previously said that his country's navy would ensure the free passage of vessels carrying Ukrainian grain, which are now blocked in the Black Sea ports, once Kiev agrees to remove its mines from the coastal waters.
Millions of tons of grain remain trapped in Ukraine, stored in silos and at the port of Odessa, causing a dramatic increase in global food prices that is expected to worsen as the war continues.
Ukraine is considered the world's fourth-largest exporter of corn and fifth-largest exporter of wheat, and the UN's program to combat food insecurity purchases roughly half of its wheat from Ukraine each year.
Russia, alongside Ukraine, accounts for almost a third of the world's wheat and barley production and half of the global production of sunflower oil.
Wheat is the second most-produced grain in the world after corn; now the whole world might face a wheat supply shortage due to the #Ukrainian crisis and the sanctions imposed on #Russia.#Ukraine #RussiaUkraine pic.twitter.com/aNkRuR4cj7— Al Mayadeen English (@MayadeenEnglish) March 2, 2022
Several countries and international organizations have been calling for the unblocking of the Ukrainian seaports since the start of the war, with the aim of curtailing the rising food process and delivering crops to regions facing acute food crises as soon as possible.
This comes as Russia stressed that it would retain its grain export quota mechanism next season, and its exports in 2022 could reach 50 million tonnes.