Russia Destroys Grain Silos Along Danube As US Pushes For 'Alternative' Ukraine Shipping Routes

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Aug 16, 2023 - 10:40 PM

The United States is actively pursuing ways for Ukraine to boost its grain exports via alternative routes after Russia pulled out of the Black Sea Grain Initiative deal this summer. This involves NATO-member Romania, and presents the increasingly dangerous prospect of Russia and a NATO country entering potential clashes.

The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that the US has been holding talks with Turkey, Ukraine, and its neighbors about exporting up to four million tons of grain a month by October, using the Danube River route.

Aftermath of Russian attack in grain storage facility in Odesa region,Source: Ukraine’s South Command

"Much of the grain would be sent down the river and via the Black Sea to nearby ports in Romania and shipped onward to other destinations," wrote the WSJ. "Though slower and more expensive, the route would work as an alternative to a Black Sea shipping corridor established last year under an agreement with Russia, Turkey and the United Nations."

Ukraine has also been having to rely on slower and much more expensive, logistically challenging overland routes for more and more of its foodstuff exports, while some 50% of its exports must still flow through Black Sea routes.

But any attempt to ramp up sea routes is more dangerous, given Russia has over several weeks increased its attacks on Ukrainian ports and event sent commandos to board a shipping vessel in the Black Sea which was headed toward Romania...

An unnamed US official said the Biden administration "is considering all potential options, including military solutions" to ensure the safety of ships entering Ukraine's ports on the Danube. As part of the mulled plan, vessels would leave Ukrainian ports and enter Romanian ones and from there be shipped to outside destinations.

However, the Russian naval intercept incident of an allegedly 'unauthorized' Turkish vessel bound for Romania and Ukraine highlights that Moscow's readiness to crackdown on any 'alternate' routes for Ukrainian grain. Its forces have even bombed grain silos on the Danube, provocatively close to NATO-member Romania's territory.

There has been yet another attack Wednesday, per the AP: "Russian drones pounded grain storage facilities and ports along the Danube River that Ukraine has increasingly relied on as an alternative transport route to Europe, after Moscow broke off a key wartime shipping agreement using the Black Sea," the report says.

"At the same time, a loaded container ship stranded at the Black Sea port of Odesa since Russia’s full-scale invasion more than 17 months ago set sail along a temporary corridor established by Ukraine for merchant shipping," it added. Thus it appears there are some early attempts in motion at freeing up an alternate corridor. But Russia's military is continuing to bring the pressure.