The US sharply rebutted Russian President Vladimir Putin's claims that nearly all of the grain leaving Ukraine's ports under a recently brokered pact is bound for the EU.
State Department spokesman Vedant Patel said the Russian leader's allegation against the Black Sea Grain Initiative "simply is not the case."
"The Black Sea Green Initiative is a humanitarian arrangement to bring desperately needed food to the world's hungry populations," Patel told reporters. "Because of this arrangement, grain has been able to reach global markets, and gone to countries that need it desperately.”
Putin charged earlier Wednesday that "almost all" of the grain being exported from Ukraine's Black Sea ports "is sent not to the developing poorest countries, but to the EU countries."
"Under the UN World Food Program, which implies assistance to countries in need, only two ships were loaded, I emphasize, only two out of 87, and 60,000 tons of food were exported on them of the 2 million tons, this is only 3% that is sent to developing countries," the president said.
Since Aug. 1,100 ships have left three Ukrainian ports covered by a Türkiye and UN-mediated pact to address global food shortages, according to the UN's political affairs chief. Rosemary DiCarlo told the Security Council that over 2,300,00 metric tons of grain has been exported under the deal.
Some 30% of the shipments have gone to low and lower-middle income countries, including three ships chartered by the World Food Program, she added.