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Sandu: Moldova to help Ukraine export its grain

by Martin Fornusek August 18, 2023 7:26 PM 2 min read
Moldova's President Maia Sandu on a visit to France's President Emmanuel Macron in Paris, May 19, 2022. (Photo Credit: NurPhoto/GettyImages)
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Moldova is working with partners to help Ukraine export its grain while taking into account the interests of Moldovan farmers, the country's President Maia Sandu said in an interview with the Romanian-language service of the French public broadcaster RFI on Aug. 18.

"The Republic of Moldova has been offering Ukraine assistance with grain transit since the beginning of the war. Not only now, when the Danube ports were bombed," Sandu said, referencing Russian attacks against the Ukrainian river ports of Izmail and Reni.

"We are also negotiating with Ukraine, Romania, and the European Commission on how to include the interests of Moldovan farmers and to ensure the transit of grain from Ukraine."

One of the solutions is to make rapid investments in transport infrastructure and increase naval transport capacity, both during wartime and after the peace is concluded, the president said.

Sandu admitted that Moldova's current infrastructure is not sufficiently developed even for the needs of domestic farmers, and Ukrainian exports put it under greater strain.

However, the president emphasized that it is Moldova's duty to help Ukraine: "Ukraine ensures our own peace today."

Commenting on Moldovan farmers threatening to resume protests in the capital in efforts to ban Ukrainian grain imports, Sandu said that the government has also "taken actions to support Moldovan producers."

Agricultural workers in Moldova launched several strikes in protest against Ukrainian grain imports, fearing they threaten their own production.

Similar concerns were raised by farmers in five Central and Eastern EU members, pressuring the European Commission to institute a temporary ban on the domestic sale of certain Ukrainian grain products in Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland, scheduled to expire by Sep. 15.

Ukraine's grain exports are hampered by Russia's unilateral decision to terminate the Black Sea Grain Initiative on July 17. The deal, brokered by Turkey and the U.N. in July 2022, allowed the country to export its agricultural product amid the full-scale invasion.

Kyiv's partners have since pledged to assist Ukraine with shipping out its produce. The EU announced it will expand its "solidarity lanes," which have facilitated the export of over 45 million metric tons of grain since May 2022.

Moldova and Ukraine's neighbor Romania hopes that it can transit around 60% of Ukrainian grain, pledging to double the monthly freight volume from 2 million metric tons to 4 million.

Ukraine, US, EU, Romania, Moldova convene to discuss Ukrainian grain exports
Representatives of Ukraine, the U.S., the EU, Romania, and Moldova held a meeting in Galati, Romania on Aug. 11 to discuss Ukrainian grain exports following Russia’s unilateral termination of the grain deal.
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