Minsk may be granted a waiver in exchange for shipping Ukrainian grain, a US official reportedly said FILE PHOTO. A general view of Belaruskali potash mines near the town of Soligorsk. ©VIKTOR DRACHEV / AFP

The US is considering granting Belarus a six-month waiver from sanctions imposed on its chemical industry last year, in exchange for opening up the railroads to start shipping grain from Ukraine to Lithuania, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unnamed US officials.

The sanctions were slapped on Minsk over opposition protests in the country and a border crisis involving hundreds of asylum seekers from the Middle East trying to reach Poland and Lithuania through Belarus. The EU and US accused President Alexander Lukashenko of orchestrating the crisis and imposed restrictions on the export of fertilizers, a major source of foreign currency revenue for Belarus. Minsk denied that it directed refugees to the European nations.

Washington reportedly wants to temporarily lift the sanctions both to increase the supply of fertilizer on the world market, and to incentivize Minsk to help Western nations move Ukrainian grain out of the country. The shipments would go to the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda.

Ukrainian shipping lanes were cut off due to the Russian military campaign in the country. The US has accused Russia of causing a world food shortage through its naval blockade in the Black Sea, and wants it to allow cargo ships to use the Kiev-controlled port of Odessa to export grain reserves.

Moscow has denied the accusations, saying the shortages were predicted years ago due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the disruption of supply chains it caused. (RT)