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Croatia offers railways, ports to export Ukrainian grain

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk July 19, 2023 5:15 PM 2 min read
A vessel is seen in the port upon arriving under the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Odesa, southern Ukraine. (Yulii Zozulia / Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
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Croatia offered its rail network and ports on the Adriatic Sea as an alternative export route for Ukrainian grain during a session at the U.N. General Assembly on July 18.

"Croatia is ready to help" said the State Secretary for Political Affairs Frano Matušić, adding that "Croatian railways and ports in the Adriatic Sea are one of the possible alternative routes."

Russia dealt a significant blow to global food security on July 17 by announcing its withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative.

The deal, brokered by Turkey and the U.N. in July 2022, allowed Ukraine to continue exporting its agricultural products through the Black Sea during the full-scale invasion.

Ukraine is one of the world's largest grain suppliers and the agreement has played a crucial role in stabilizing food prices worldwide amid a surge caused, in part, by Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine.

The EU will also continue helping Ukraine to export its agricultural products through the "solidarity lanes," according to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen on July 18.

However, Central European countries fear that the flow of Ukrainian grain to the EU will again increase, pushing down prices.

According to Reuters, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, and Bulgaria will jointly ask the EU on July 19 to prolong the ban on Ukrainian agricultural imports beyond Sep. 15. They are still obligated to transport these products elsewhere.

Croatia, a NATO and EU member, has supported Ukraine in its defense against Russian aggression.

In June, the Croatian parliament officially recognized the Holodomor of 1932-1933 as genocide against the Ukrainian people.

Zagreb has also pledged to provide 14 Mi-8 helicopters to Kyiv, nine of which were reportedly delivered in May, and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković has repeatedly visited Ukraine.

The support provided by Croatia's government stands in contrast with the stances of the country's President Zoran Milanović, who has criticized Western sanctions against Russia and denounced arms supplies for Ukraine.

Guterres: Russia’s pull-out of grain deal ‘will strike a blow to people in need everywhere’
“Today’s decision by the Russian Federation will strike a blow to people in need everywhere,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said.
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