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The EU will continue helping Ukraine to export its agricultural products through the "solidarity lanes" as Russia terminated the Black Sea Grain Initiative on July 17, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen said on July 18.
"I am deeply concerned about Russia's move to terminate the Black Sea Grain Initiative, despite the efforts of the United Nations and Türkiye," von der Leyen said at a press conference following the summit between the EU and Caribbean and Latin American countries.
"The risk is that it brings food insecurity to so many vulnerable countries across the globe. The European Union will, by all means, continue to work to ensure that food security for vulnerable people is given."
The EU Commission presented the solidarity lanes in May 2022 to facilitate Ukraine's agricultural exports, even before Turkey and the U.N. brokered the Black Sea Grain Initiative in July of that year.
According to von der Leyen, more than 45 million tonnes of grain, oilseed, and other products have been exported via the solidarity lanes and another 35 tonnes have been shipped thanks to the grain deal.
"It is important that the blocking of the Black Sea is stopped and that the exports via the Black Sea can keep on going," the EU Commission president said.
Russia decided not to prolong its participation in the grain deal after its expiration date on July 17, effectively terminating the agreement. Russian dictator Vladimir Putin claimed that Moscow's demands regarding logistics, insurance, and international payments have not been met.
The move attracted international criticism and sparked fears of rising food prices worldwide. The EU's chief diplomat Josep Borrell and U.S. State Secretary Anthony Blinken denounced Russia's step as blackmail and vowed to assist Ukraine with its exports.