U.S. President Joe Biden’s plan to export Ukrainian grain stuck in the war-torn country by building silos on Poland’s border is “remarkably interesting,” but could take months to implement, Poland’s deputy prime minister said Wednesday.
“The statement by the President of the United States, Joe Biden, about the intention to build temporary silos in Poland, near the border with Ukraine, is a remarkably interesting idea. However, for the time being it is a preliminary declaration which requires many detailed solutions to be worked out,” Deputy Prime Minister Henryk Kowalczyk, who doubles as Poland’s agriculture minister, wrote in a statement.
Biden announced the plan Tuesday, meant to help move crucial grains out of Ukraine amid a global food crisis exacerbated by Russia’s attack on the major agricultural producer, which traditionally feeds struggling countries in the Middle East and Africa. Under Biden’s plan, the U.S. would aid in the construction of temporary grain silos on the Polish side of the border with Ukraine in order to speed up rail exports, which are failing to match the volumes of grain that the country used to ship out from its southern ports before Russia’s invasion.
“It should be noted that this type of investment will take approximately three to four months to complete,” said Kowalczyk, who told POLITICO last month that Warsaw was attempting to solve logistical bottlenecks by July because of Ukraine’s looming summer harvest. POLITICO understands that Kyiv has not been consulted on the U.S. silo plan.
Kowalczyk’s remarks are a further sign that there is no perfect workaround to Moscow’s agricultural blockade of Ukraine, with little sign of progress so far on a U.N. push to negotiate safe passage for grain ships in the Black Sea, where Russia is blockading Ukraine’s crucial port of Odesa.