Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas.) in a Thursday interview called Russian President Vladimir Putin’s effort to stop grain exports from flowing out of Ukraine “disturbing,” warning of possible implications for North Africa, Europe and the United States.
During an appearance on NewsNation’s “The Hill,” McCaul told NewsNation chief White House correspondent Blake Burman that he’s “worried” about a possible scenario where war escalation could happen between Russia and NATO-member countries that border the Black Sea.
The White House on Wednesday warned that Russia is preparing for possible attacks on civilian shipping vessels in the Black Sea, noting that Russian military forces have laid additional sea mines that border Ukrainian ports.
“Oh, sure. We’ve been worried about that scenario since the inception of the Russian invasion into Ukraine,” McCaul said.
“This is very, I think, disturbing on Putin’s part to shut off … grain from the Black Sea into the White Sea, because this could cause a famine in northern Africa, and it could also raise prices not only in Europe, but the United States. I think it’s highly irresponsible what he’s doing, but he’s desperate now,” he added.
McCaul also said Turkey has tried to negotiate with Putin on a solution, noting that Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative will affect the global food market.
“It affects the entire global food market. And again, I think the region that will get hit the hardest will be Northern Africa. It could set them off into a famine. I’ve met with the World Food Program,” McCaul added. “You know David Beasley was the head of that; he negotiated the deal with Putin. I hope we can make some progress, but the fact is, we will feel this here in the United States.”
Earlier this week, Russia paused its participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative, with Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov saying in a statement that it would suspend its part in the deal unless its demands are met to get its own food and fertilizer out to the world.
“When the part of the Black Sea deal related to Russia is implemented, Russia will immediately return to the implementation of the deal,” Peskov said.
The deal was brokered last year by the United Nations and Turkey after Russia invaded and blockaded Ukraine’s ports.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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