‘Credible Reports’ Show Russia Stealing, Selling Ukraine’s Grain

  • US State Sec. Antony Blink accused Russia of stealing Ukraine’s grain and selling it for profit.
  • The US warned last month that Moscow was selling to African countries at risk of famine, the NYT reported.
  • Blinken also said Russian forces were blocking ports near Ukraine, preventing grain shipments to other countries.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday that there are “credible reports” suggesting that Russia is stealing grain from Ukraine “to sell for profit.”

Blinken delivered remarks regarding the stolen grain during a State Department press conference on food security following Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, AFP reported.

“There are credible reports … that Russia is pilfering Ukraine’s grain exports to sell for its own profit,” Blinken said, per the AFP report. “Now, Russia is hoarding its food exports as well.”

The State Secretary added that the war in Ukraine is “having a devastating impact on global food security because Ukraine is one of the breadbaskets of the world.”

Blinken’s remarks come after The New York Times reported that the US issued a warning last month that Russian cargo vessels were leaving ports near Ukraine carrying “stolen Ukrainian grain.”

The US sent alerts to 14 countries, mostly in Africa, noting the Kremlin was selling the stolen grain to African countries challenged by drought and possible famine — potentially forcing them to choose between rejecting cheap food imports as people are starving or reaping the benefits of possible war crimes and angering Western allies in the process, The Times reported.

Blinken said Russian President Vladimir Putin is also putting the pressure on other countries reliant on Ukraine for grain by blocking carriers from leaving the Black Sea port of Odesa in a bid to “blackmail” those countries “to give in to” Putin and gain their support in their invasion of Ukraine.

“Right now a Russian naval blockade in the Black Sea is preventing Ukraine’s crops from being shipped to their normal destinations,” Blinken said, per AFP. “There is somewhere around 20 million tons of wheat that is trapped in silos near Odesa, and in ships literally filled with grain that are stuck in the Odesa port because of this Russian blockade.”

“In other words, quite simply put, it’s blackmail,” Blinken said.

The US government is not the only entity to blame Russia for fueling a global food crisis. During a UN Security Council meeting Monday, European Council President Charles earlier accused Russian forces of war crimes and crimes against humanity, as well as contributing to a food crisis, Reuters reported.

“Mr. Ambassador of the Russian Federation, let’s be honest, the Kremlin is using food supplies as a stealth missile against developing countries,” Michel said in the Security Council, per Reuters. “Russia is solely responsible for this food crisis.”

Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, who attended the council meeting, “categorically refuted” the claims made by Michel and called the accusations a “lie” before storming out of the Security Council chamber.

As the Russian envoy left the room, Michel said: “You may leave the room, maybe it’s easier not to listen to the truth.”

In a statement following the incident, Nebenzia told Reuters that he “couldn’t stay” because of “the lies that Charles Michel came here to distribute.”

Leave a Comment