US working on ‘Plan B’ for Ukrainian grain exports after Odessa bombing, USAID administrator says

The United States is working with Ukraine on a “plan B” to get grain exports out of the country after Russia’s attack on the port of Odessa, according to Samantha Power, administrator of the United States Agency. United for international development.

“Plan B involves road, rail and river, sending barges and adjusting rail systems to be better aligned with those in Europe so exports can move faster,” he said. Power told CNN’s Larry Madowo in an interview in Nairobi. , in Kenya on Sunday, after visiting drought-stricken parts of Kenya and Somalia last week.

“We lived through the contingency plan because there is no way to trust what Vladimir Putin says,” she continued.

Power pointed out that despite the security offered by a contingency plan, “there is no substitute for Putin allowing the blockade to end and the grain to be shipped in the most efficient way possible.”

On Friday, Russia and Ukraine signed an agreement allowing the export of Ukrainian grain through the Black Sea after months of difficult negotiations, mediated by Turkey and the United Nations.

However, a day later, Russia launched a missile strike on the port of Odessa in southern Ukraine, where vital grain stocks were stored.

More than half of Somalia’s wheat imports come from Ukraine, Power said, adding that 20 million metric tons of wheat and maize are still stuck at the port of Odessa.

Ms Power said she hoped the grain deal would “somehow hold together” despite Russia’s decision to “immediately turn its back on it” by bombing the port.

Securing grain supplies will help bring prices down, Power said.

“Even the specter of this deal working and being enforced and grain leaving the port has driven prices down, even over a 24-hour period,” she said. “So more supply with the same amount of demand will mean lower prices.”

Last week, the United States announced $1.3 billion in additional humanitarian assistance to the Horn of Africa, with unprecedented drought in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.

Power called on countries playing “a leadership role in the international system, as the People’s Republic of China clearly aspires to do,” to “dig deeper” to prevent the food crisis “from becoming a disaster.”

Christi C. Elwood