Poland committed to boosting Ukraine grain exports

Brussels and six countries including Poland announced on Friday a billion-euro boost to efforts to export Ukraine’s grain harvest, despite Russia’s invasion and threat to block Black Sea ports.

Cargo ship Zante, carrying Ukranian grain, sails on the Bosphorus Strait, in Istanbul, Turkey, 02 November 2022. On 02 November Russian Defence Ministry in a statement announced Russia will resume its participation in the grain exports deal, after suspending its participation on 29 October.

Cargo ship Zante, carrying Ukranian grain, sails on the Bosphorus Strait, in Istanbul, Turkey, 02 November 2022. On 02 November Russian Defence Ministry in a statement announced Russia will resume its participation in the grain exports deal, after suspending its participation on 29 October. Photo: PAP/EPA/ERDEM SAHIN

A declaration to that end was signed by the European Commission, Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine together with the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the World Bank.

„As part of the European Union’s response to the Russian aggression against Ukraine, the European Commission and bordering EU Member States on May 12, 2022 established the EU-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes,” the declaration read.

„The Solidarity Lanes are essential corridors for Ukraine’s agricultural exports, as well as the export and import of other goods,” it added.”As bordering EU Member States, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary, have made tremendous efforts and investments to facilitate these trade routes,” the declaration also said.

Friday’s announcement commits a major funding boost to the project, with cash to reduce waiting times for trucks and trains crossing to Poland and Romania from Moldova and Ukraine by supporting repairs and development to road and railway freight infrastructure in Ukraine. 

Commenting on the situation of Ukrainian grain exports, Poland’s prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki said the Kremlin sought to „saddle the West with blame for the food crisis that it has provoked and orchestrated  in order to pressurise us into lifting sanctions.”

„We cannot give in to Russian blackmail,” Morawiecki said in a video message issued in connection with the joint declaration.

 The prime minister said Russia had systematically weaponised food security, deliberately destroying reserves, and that using hunger as a weapon was reminiscent of the darkest days of Soviet history.

Russian forces launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February and, despite a UN- and Turkish-brokered deal to allow grain shipments, the fighting has disrupted the harvest and exports.

Ukraine is one of the world’s biggest food suppliers and Brussels was keen to head off the threat of famine in parts of Africa and the Middle East, while supporting Kyiv’s agriculture sector.

(mo)

Source: PAP, AFP

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