STATEMENT BY SECRETARY ANTONY J. BLINKEN
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesperson
July 17, 2023
The United States deeply regrets Russia’s decision to suspend participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative. The Russian government’s continued weaponization of food harms millions of vulnerable people around the world.
Since August 2022, the Black Sea Grain Initiative has shipped over 32 million metric tons of Ukrainian grain and foodstuffs to the world, including some of the most food insecure regions of the globe like the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, Yemen, and Afghanistan. More broadly, every shipment under the Initiative has contributed to reducing hardship in the world’s poorest countries, since bringing grain to world markets lowers food prices for all.
Despite Russia’s claims, the UN has facilitated record Russian exports of food, coordinating with the private sector and with the US, EU, and UK to clarify any concerns raised by Russia. As we have consistently made clear, no G7 sanctions are in place on Russian food and fertilizer exports. Russia unfortunately does not contribute to the World Food Program, and its exports focus on higher income countries, not the world’s poorest.
This decision is consistent with Russia’s veto last week of a UN Security Council resolution reauthorizing critical cross-border humanitarian assistance to Syrians. The cynical actions hurt the world’s most vulnerable.
The United States is thankful to the UN and Türkiye for their work to extend the lifesaving Black Sea Grain Initiative and bring both Ukrainian and Russian grain to world markets. We urge the Government of Russia to reverse its decision, to resume negotiations, and to extend, expand, and fully implement the Initiative immediately for the benefit of the millions of people who depend on Ukrainian grain.