Today, a commercial vessel carrying Ukrainian grain safely departed the Black Sea for the first time since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February. We again commend the United Nations and Turkey for mediating the diplomacy that resulted in today’s significant step, which raises hope of bringing the millions of tons of grain stuck at Ukraine’s ports to those facing food insecurity around the world.
But this is only a first step, and continued implementation of the July 21 UN-facilitated deal is essential to bolster food security around the world. Russia must meet its commitments, including by facilitating unimpeded exports of agricultural products from Black Sea ports. Russia must also end its attacks that are rendering farmland in Ukraine unusable and destroying agricultural infrastructure. As long as Russia continues its aggression, the Ukrainian people and the world’s most vulnerable will continue to suffer its effects.