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Blinken praises Ukrainian resilience as he tours Kyiv grain facility

Blinken praises Ukrainian resilience as he tours Kyiv grain facility

KYIV — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Wednesday praised the resilience of Ukraine's grain production in the face of Russian attacks as he toured a US-supported transshipment facility on the outskirts of Kyiv.

Russia has struck ports and infrastructure since its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, worsening a global food crisis, but grain exports have recovered amid Ukrainian attacks on Russia's Black Sea fleet.

"Before 2022 Ukraine had been one of the breadbaskets of the world, and now it remains that, but only because of that incredible adaptation," Blinken said after watching grain being transferred to a truck for shipping out of Ukraine at a site supported by the US Agency for International Development.

"Getting the Black Sea corridor open again and moving the Russian navy out, finding new routes or expanding old ones like the Danube, like land crossings, and all of that has been the result of Ukrainian determination and ingenuity, but it's also been the result of support that Ukraine's received from the United States."

Ukraine launched a shipping corridor hugging its western Black Sea coast near Romania and Bulgaria in August, a month after Russia quit a year-long landmark deal—brokered by the United Nations and Turkey—that had allowed the safe Black Sea export of nearly 33 million metric tons of Ukraine grain.

The top US diplomat also visited a facility manufacturing drones for the war and a company that makes high-tech prosthetics for amputees.

Blinken is the first senior US official to travel to Ukraine after US Congress passed last month a $61 billion military aid package following a delay of several months during which Russia gained advantage on the battlefield.

Blinken has repeatedly stressed Washington's enduring support for Ukraine during the visit that came just days after Russia launched a ground incursion into the north of the region of Kharkiv, opening a new front and stretching Ukraine's soldiers. — Reuters