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Biden promotes granaries on the Ukrainian border to help with exports; Kyiv wants to open ports

Biden promotes granaries on the Ukrainian border to help with exports;  Kyiv wants to open ports

The Ukrainian flag is covered in grain in this photo illustration on May 9, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Rovich/Illustration/file image

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(Reuters) – US President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that temporary silos will be built along the border with Ukraine in an effort to help export more grain and tackle a growing global food crisis.

Since the Russian invasion and blockade of the Ukrainian Black Sea ports, grain shipments have been halted and more than 20 million tons stuck in silos. Ukraine says it is facing a shortage of silos for a new crop.

The war fuels the prices of grain, cooking oils, fuel and fertilizer.

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Russia and Ukraine account for nearly a third of the world’s wheat supply. Ukraine is a major exporter of corn and sunflower oil, and Russia is a major exporter of fertilizers.

“I am working closely with our European partners to get 20 million tons of Ukraine’s grain out to market to help lower food prices,” Biden said at a union conference in Philadelphia. “It can’t come out through the Black Sea because it will fly out of the water.”

Since the start of the war, Ukraine and Russia have planted naval mines. About 84 foreign ships are stuck in Ukrainian ports – many with grain cargoes on board. Read more

Biden said Washington is developing a plan to transport grain by rail, but noted that the Ukrainian track metrics are different from those in Europe, so grain must be transported to different trains at the border.

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“So we will build silos, temporary silos, on the borders of Ukraine, including in Poland,” Biden said.

The grain could be moved from Ukrainian railway wagons to the new silos, and then to European freight wagons “to take it to the ocean and transport it across the world,” he said, adding that the plan was taking time.

“This is just one of the potentially beneficial steps in ensuring food security. But we also need a green corridor for our ports,” Andrey Yermak, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s chief of staff, said in an online post.

Ukraine’s Agriculture Ministry said on Tuesday that European countries were considering providing temporary silos to “preserve the crop and secure future grain supplies”. Read more

Ukraine says the best way to get grain exports moving again is via Black Sea shipments. Read more

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is trying to broker what he calls a “comprehensive deal” to resume Ukrainian exports from the Black Sea and exports of Russian food and fertilizer, which Moscow says have been hit by sanctions. The United Nations has so far described talks with Russia as “constructive”.

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Additional reporting by David Leungren in Ottawa; Editing by Bill Bercrot and Stephen Coates

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.