Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Wednesday that Russia is facing difficulties exporting grain due to Western sanctions.
The sanctions on Russian shipping imposed by the US and its allies technically have exemptions for grain shipments, but the sanctions discourage companies and ports from doing business with Russian ships altogether.
“They are not accepted in European ports, they are not insured, and, in principle, all logistics, financial chains that are associated with the supply of grain to global markets, were under the sanctions of our Western colleagues,” Lavrov said at a press conference.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the US ambassador to the UN, has recognized that US sanctions are impacting Russian grain shipments despite the exemptions. She said that the US was prepared to give companies “comfort letters” to help facilitate the export of Russian grain.
“Companies are a little nervous and we’re prepared to give them comfort letters if that will help to encourage them,” Thomas-Greenfield said.
History has shown that no matter how many exemptions the US issues for humanitarian goods, its sanctions almost always cause shortages. For example, Iranians are facing medicine shortages due to US sanctions despite exemptions for medical goods.
When it comes to the issues delaying the export of Ukrainian grain, the West is accusing Russia of imposing a blockade, while Russia blames Ukraine for mining its ports. Russia and Turkey are in talks on facilitating Ukrainian grain exports, and Ankara agrees with Moscow that Ukrainian mines are blocking ships from leaving.