The United States is looking for proof Russia is upholding its end of a Turkish-brokered deal to free up Ukrainian grain exports.  The agreement, if kept, could partially end a months-long Russian blockade of ports that remain under Ukraine’s control, especially the port of Odessa.

“To date, Russia has weaponized food during this conflict," said Ned Price with the State Department.  "They have destroyed agricultural facilities. They prevented millions of tons of Ukrainian grain from getting to those who need it. As I said, we welcome the announcement of this agreement in principle.”

But more importantly, according to Price.

“But what we’re focusing on now is holding Russia accountable for implementing this agreement and enabling Ukrainian grain to get to world markets. It has been far too long since Russia enacted this blockade. It is a reflection of Russia’s wanton disregard for lives and livelihoods not only in the region but well beyond that we even had to reach this point.”

Russia’s blocked Ukraine from exporting some 20 million tons of stored grain, driving up world prices and threatening mass starvation in sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Asia, in hopes the West would lift war-related sanctions on Moscow.

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