The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that the US is considering “military solutions” to protect shipments of grain leaving Ukraine’s Danube River ports as an alternative to the Black Sea grain deal that Russia recently exited.
The Journal cited an unnamed senior US official based in Washington. The report reads: “The US is considering all potential options, including military solutions, to protect ships headed to and from Ukraine’s Danube ports, the Washington official said, but declined to give specifics on those options or say what countries would be involved in them.”
Since Russia decided not to renew the grain deal, the war has significantly expanded in the Black Sea. Russia has been bombarding Ukraine’s ports, including those on the Danube River, which are just across the waterway from NATO member Romania. Ukraine has also declared war on Russian commercial shipping and targeted a Russian tanker with a sea drone attack. Over the weekend, Russia fired warning shots and boarded a cargo ship that was headed to Ukraine.
The Journal report said that the US is in talks with Turkey, Ukraine, and other regional countries on an alternative grain deal that would involve increasing Ukraine’s capacity to ship grain out of the Danube River. Ships carrying Ukrainian grain would go to nearby ports in Romania, and then from there, the cargo would be shipped to its destination.
If the US or any other NATO nation is involved in securing safe corridors for ships leaving Ukrainian ports, it would risk a direct clash between the Western alliance and Russia.
Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh was asked about the situation in the Black Sea on Tuesday and said she didn’t have anything to announce. “We’ve been very clear we don’t seek war with Russia and that this is, you know, a fight that we are helping support Ukraine in. But at this moment, I don’t have any announcements to make when it comes to the Black Sea or any secure of helping shipments move out,” she said.
While the US is considering alternatives to the grain deal, the UN and Turkey are working to try and restore the original agreement with Russia. Moscow said it would rejoin when it was satisfied with Western efforts to facilitate the export of Russian agricultural goods. One of Russia’s main demands is reconnecting the Russian Agricultural Bank to the SWIFT payment system.
This article was originally featured at Antiwar.com and is republished with permission.