Ukrainian grain could be leaving ports, but Russian ships may take it.

A spokesperson for the U.

Ukrainian grain could be leaving ports, but Russian ships may take it.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State said Monday night that there is evidence of Russian vessels leaving "from near Ukraine with their grain cargo full," and told ABC News.

According to a spokesperson for the State Department, the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Russia has seized between 400,000 and 500,000 tons of grain valued at over $100 million.

The spokesperson stated that Ukraine's MFA has many testimonies from Ukrainian farmers as well as documentary evidence proving Russia's theft.

The New York Times reported that Ukrainian grain was found on Russian ships. This confirms a recent report that Moscow wants to make a profit from grain stolen from Ukraine. It also subverts sanctions. Russia has been accused by Ukraine of shipping stolen grain to Turkey and Syria.

The cost of grain has risen dramatically worldwide since the invasion by Russian troops in Ukraine on February 24th. Russia and Ukraine, often called Europe's breadbasket, produce about a third of the world's wheat and barley supply. However, Kyiv has not been able to export grain due to Moscow’s offensive. The Ukrainian Grain Association stated earlier this month that Ukraine's wheat harvest would plummet by up to 40%.

The United States and United Nations have been pushing hard to allow exports from war-torn Ukraine in recent weeks. This is to offset what they see as a global food crisis that could devastate the developing countries. Due to the Russian blockade of the Black Sea and Ukrainian naval mines making siloed grains export impossible, millions around the globe, especially in Africa and the Middle East, are now at the brink of starvation.

In Ankara, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will meet his Turkish counterpart this week as part of continuing efforts to aid food exports. However, Ned Price, spokesperson for the State Department, has low expectations.

Price said that he didn't know if breakthroughs were possible during Monday afternoon's press conference. "Of course we'll be closely watching. In the wake of that visit, we'll be speaking with our Turkish allies."

The pain that the world feels because Russia is running out of food supplies was highlighted by Price.

He stated that "This war has not only brutalized and terrorized the Ukrainian people, but has also put at risk food security all over the world."

According to Price, currently, approximately 84 merchant vessels and 450 seafarers are trapped in Ukrainian ports.

He said that there is grain on these ships, and there are 22 million tons of grain in silos nearby the ports. These silos also need to be moved out to make way for newly harvested grain. Russia also has taken aim at ships at sea. They also targeted grain silos. They continue to implement what amounts to a blocking of Ukraine's ports."

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