Russian forces are repeatedly attacking grain storage facilities in Ukraine, threatening food security worldwide, a U.S. official told a news outlet Thursday.
An unnamed U.S. official cited in the report said at least six grain storage facilities in eastern Ukraine have been damaged by Russian shelling since the start of the war. The attacks, coupled with other reported Russian actions in Ukraine, have sparked concerns about global food shortages and price increases.
"Russia’s reckless damaging of these grain silos is a clear-cut example of how Putin’s war directly affects civilians in Ukraine and threatens food security around the world," the official said, according to the report.
The official in the report expressed concern for the food supply and food prices in countries in Africa and the Middle East, areas that are dependent on Ukrainian wheat exports.
"The destruction of these food stocks and storage facilities could result in shortages and drive up prices in already vulnerable economies," the official said.
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Grain silos on the mainland are not the only food stores that have been affected by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Russian naval forces have established a blockade of Ukraine's Black Sea coast that has left Ukraine "effectively isolated" from international maritime trade, the British Ministry of Defense said earlier this month.
Ukraine, the world's second-largest grain shipper, has roughly 1,700 miles of coastline along the Black Sea and the Sea of Azov and 15 merchant seaports.
The blockade has disrupted a major trading corridor for Ukraine and the other countries with a coast on the Black Sea, including Georgia to the east, Turkey to the south, and Bulgaria and Romania to the west.
Russian forces took control of the other key waterway, the Sea of Azov, and closed shipping in and out of it at the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine last month.
On Tuesday, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said Russia had bombed at least three civilian cargo ships in the Black Sea, including one chartered by an agribusiness company.
Sherman said the Russian navy is preventing approximately 94 ships carrying food from reaching the Mediterranean.
Earlier this month, Ukrainian authorities also accused Russia of stealing five ships loaded with "tens of thousands of tons" of grain from a port in Ukraine.
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White House National Economic Council Director Brian Deese told the Washington Examiner on Thursday that preventing global food shortages as a result of Russia's invasion is "an issue of top focus."
"We will have more to say on that issue in the coming days," Deese said Thursday.