27 Jan 2023 11:10

U.S. keeps working with UN to speed up exports of Russian, Ukrainian grains, fertilizers - Dept of State

WASHINGTON. Jan 27 (Interfax) - U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland has said Washington is working on the exports of Russian and Ukrainian grains and fertilizers to the countries in dire need under the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

"We are working at every level with the World Food Program as you know to speed both food and fertilizer to countries that would normally be consumers of Ukraine and, frankly, Russia's output to ensure that they can plant this year," Nuland said at hearings of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

"Secretary Blinken is particularly focused on ensuring that we are working on this problem not just for today but for tomorrow," she said.

In turn, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters during a recent visit to South Africa, "As for Russian fertilizers and grains, no efforts of the United Nations have prompted the European Union and the United States to lift the hindrances to our exports."

He referred to the continuing ban on Russian ships' calls at Mediterranean ports and foreign ships' calls at Russian ports, alongside charter and insurance problems, and the inability of Rosselkhozbank to use the SWIFT payment system.