The UN coordinator for a Black Sea grain deal said that millions of tons of food needs to be moved out of Ukrainian silos to make room for the next harvest.
Amir Abdulla, UN coordinator for the Black Sea Grain Initiative, said on August 27 that the grain deal has “started creating some space, but much more grain needs to shift to make space for the new harvest.”
A day earlier, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a late-night address that Ukraine has exported more than 1 million tons of agricultural products by sea over the past month.
“The grain-exporting initiative has been working for almost a month and, during this time, our three seaports…have exported the first million tons,” Zelenskiy said.
Grain exports via the Black Sea were halted in the days after Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine on February 24. In July, Russia and Ukraine reached a UN-brokered agreement to resume the exports.
Zelenskiy said that since the agreement took effect, 44 ships had left Ukrainian ports bound for 15 foreign countries.
“The goal is to reach a volume of 3 million tons per month,” Zelenskiy said. “This is extremely important for Africa, Asia, and Europe.”
Earlier this month, the head of the UN’s World Food Program warned that even with the resumption of Ukraine’s exports, “we’re talking about a global food crisis at least for another 12 months.”
Separately, Britain’s Ministry of Defense said it is sending six underwater drones to aid Kyiv’s efforts to clear its coastline of mines and allow food supplies to be safely transported out of Ukrainian ports.
British defense officials said efforts to get food out of Ukraine are still being hampered by mines left in coastal waters by Russian forces.
Officials said dozens of Ukrainian naval personnel will be trained in Britain on how to use the underwater drones.
“Through the expert skills being taught here, our Ukrainian allies will be able to clear their own waters of mines,” said Admiral Ben Key, the chief of the naval staff.