21:39 18 Jul 2023

EU seeks to increase land exports of Ukrainian grain due to Russia's withdrawal from Black Sea deal

The EU is seeking to transfer more Ukrainian grain by road and rail to compensate for Russia's withdrawal from the grain deal.

This was stated by the leaders and officials of the bloc, as reported by Reuters.

On Tuesday, Russia struck Ukrainian grain ports, a day after Moscow withdrew from a deal that allowed Ukrainian grain blocked by the Russia-Ukraine conflict to be exported safely, the agency reports.

Hundreds of thousands of people around the world will be "deprived of basic food," top EU diplomat Josep Borrell told reporters on Tuesday on the sidelines of the NATO summit with Latin American and Caribbean countries.

They are using hunger as a weapon. This is one of the worst things that Putin could have done, Borrell added.

A senior EU official separately said the bloc supports Türkiye and the UN in efforts to bring Russia back into the agreement.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said the bloc would also respond by expanding overland export routes for Ukrainian grain through "solidarity lanes" or road and rail links through Ukraine's EU neighbors and Moldova.

There are other ways to get the grain out of Ukraine, for example through Romania and through Poland. If the Russians persist in this policy of preventing Ukraine from exporting grain and fertiliser, we will have to find other ways to get the grain out, Varadkar assured.

On 17 July, Putin's spox Dmitriy Peskov announced the suspension of the Black Sea Grain Initiative. Russian Foreign Ministry spox Maria Zakharova in RIA Novosti said the state officially informed Türkiye and Ukraine, as well as the UN secretariat, of objections to the continuation of the grain deal.

Recently, Russia has regularly threatened not to extend the grain corridor, despite calls from the UN and Türkiye, which have been mediators of the agreement.

Türkiye's leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he believes Putin actually wants the so-called grain deal to be extended and will talk to him about it.

Subsequently, the Kremlin denied the statements of the Turkish president.

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