The United States has pledged more than $68 million to the United Nations to buy and ship Ukrainian wheat, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development, responding to a global food crisis that has been exacerbated by Moscow’s war in Ukraine.
Maritime grain exports from Ukraine resumed last month under a deal brokered by the United Nations and Turkey that ended a monthslong Russian blockade of Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. The first ship carrying grain directly to African countries that have endured food shortages since Russia’s invasion departed on Tuesday, supported by U.S.A.I.D.
The agency said on Tuesday that it would provide another more than $68 million toward the purchase, storage and shipment of up to 150,000 metric tons (about 165,000 tons) of Ukrainian wheat to the United Nations’ World Food Program, which addresses hunger and promotes food security internationally.
Samantha Power, the administrator of U.S.A.I.D., said in a statement that the lives of millions of people within Ukraine have been affected by the war, but “the damage has not stayed contained within the country.” Referring to President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, she said that “much more is needed to help the world recover from the global devastation caused by Putin’s brutal war.”
Before the war began, Ukraine supplied about 50 million tons of grain a year to the world market, according to the United Nations. Roughly 20 million tons of grain were then left stuck in Ukrainian silos as a result of Russia’s blockade.
António Guterres, the United Nations’ secretary general, plans to travel to Ukraine on Thursday to review how the deal to end the blockade and allow the resumption of grain exports is working.
The United Nations said that he would meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey in Lviv, and that Mr. Guterres would also meet individually with Mr. Zelensky. The United Nations’ leader is then scheduled to travel to the Black Sea port of Odesa on Friday to see the movement of grain.