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AFP: Lithuania asks EU to use Baltic ports for Ukrainian grain exports

by Martin Fornusek July 24, 2023 11:52 PM 2 min read
Grain ship TQ Samsun in the Black Sea on July 17, 2023, in Istanbul, Turkey. Russia announced that it withdrew from the Grain Corridor Agreement, which was signed last year under the mediation of Turkey and the United Nations, which ensures the transportation of millions of tons of grain stuck in Ukrainian ports to the world. (Photo: Sercan Ozkurnazli/dia images via Getty Images)
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Lithuania has called on the European Union to use Baltic ports to export Ukrainian grain after the Black Sea Grain Initiative's collapse, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported on July 24.

In a letter sent to the European Commission and acquired by AFP, three Lithuanian ministers said that the Baltic Sea ports could "serve as a reliable alternative for transiting Ukrainian products, including cereals."

This could help to transport 25 million tonnes of grain annually, the Lithuanian officials believe.

Russia withdrew from the Black Sea Grain Initiative on July 17, effectively terminating the deal that allowed Ukraine to export its agricultural products amid the ongoing full-scale invasion.

Ukraine is one of the world's leading grain producers and exporters. The agreement, brokered by Turkey and the U.N. in July 2022, has played a crucial role in stabilizing food prices worldwide.

The EU promised to support Ukraine's efforts to export its agricultural products via the so-called "solidarity lanes," set up in May 2022 to assist Kyiv in shipping out its produce.

According to President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, the solidarity lanes facilitated the export of more than 45 million tonnes of grain, oilseed, and other products so far.

Croatia also offered its rail network and ports on the Adriatic Sea as an alternative route for Ukrainian grain, while Bulgaria and Greece reportedly discuss plans to transit Ukrainian agricultural produce by Bulgarian trains to Greek ports.

In its appeal, Lithuania has further asked the EU to cut red tape on Ukraine's border with Poland.

Together with the governments of Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria, Warsaw called on the EU to prolong the ban on the sale of Ukrainian wheat, maize, rapeseed, and sunflower seeds in these countries until the end of the year.

The measure was initially instituted by the EU in May and was later prolonged on June 5, set to expire by Sep. 15.

However, the five Central European members are not opposed to transiting Ukrainian agricultural products through their territory.

This Week in Ukraine Ep. 17 – Black Sea grain deal is dead. What can Ukraine do?
Episode #17 of our weekly video podcast “This Week in Ukraine” is dedicated to the Black Sea grain deal, how Russia weaponized it, and ultimately killed it. Host Anastasiia Lapatina is joined by the Kyiv Independent’s reporter Alexander Query. Listen to the audio version of the podcast on Apple, S…
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1:57 PM

Norwegian foreign minister visits Odesa.

Barth Eide visited Odesa's port and said that he was "deeply impressed by the way Ukraine has been able to regain control and to ensure exports of grain to the world, despite constant Russian aggression."
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