US urges countries to ask for help if there are problems with Russian food and fertilizer exports

By Michelle Nichols

NEW YORK, June 22 (Reuters) – Countries should ask the United States for help if they run into problems importing Russian food and fertilizer, a Washington official said on Wednesday, stressing that such goods are not subject to sanctions over the invasion of Russia. Ukraine.

«Nothing prevents Russia from exporting its grains or fertilizers, except its own policies and actions,» Deputy Secretary of the US State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs Ramin Toloui told reporters.

However, he added that concerns had been raised about «alleged non-compliance with the sanctions» imposed by Washington after the February 24 invasion.

Facilitating Russian food and grain exports is a key part of attempts by UN and Turkish representatives to negotiate a deal with Moscow that would also allow grain shipments from Ukraine from the Black Sea port of Odessa.

A meeting between Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and UN representatives is likely to be held in Istanbul in the coming weeks, sources in the Turkish presidency said on Tuesday.

«We fully support this,» Toloui said. «We will continue to coordinate closely with the UN delegation and the Ukrainian government on ways to mitigate the impacts on global food security of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s war.»

The war has fueled a global food crisis, with Russia and Ukraine accounting for nearly a third of the world’s wheat supply. Russia is also a key exporter of fertilizers and Ukraine is an exporter of corn and sunflower oil.

Moscow denies responsibility for the food crisis, blaming Western sanctions and Ukraine for undermining its Black Sea ports.

«The United States does not want there to be impediments for countries, companies, to buy Russian food, Russian fertilizers, and for those goods to access international markets,» said Toloui, who encouraged countries to contact the Department Treasury or local US embassies if they had problems.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols and Kanishka Singh. Editing in Spanish by Javier Leira)