European Commission plans to help Ukraine in exporting grain
The European Commission proposed helping Ukraine export its wheat and other grains by rail, road, and river to get around a Russian blockade of Black Sea ports, which is preventing those critical supplies from reaching parts of the world at risk of food insecurity.
The European Union’s executive arm said the plan aims to establish alternative routes and ease congestion between borders that should also facilitate getting humanitarian aid and other goods into the war-torn country.
“Twenty million tons of grains have to leave Ukraine in less than three months using the EU infrastructure,” said Adina Valean, EU Commissioner for Transport. “This is a gigantesque challenge, so it is essential to coordinate and optimize the logistic chains, put in place new routes, and avoid, as much as possible, the bottlenecks.”
The head of the European Investment Bank said this week that Ukraine is “sitting on 8 billion euros worth of wheat” it can’t export.
In addition to the port blockade, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry has accused Russia of stealing grain and trying to sell some on global markets. It cited official estimates indicating that Russia already may have stolen 400,000 to 500,000 metric tons of grain that cost over $100 million. It asserted that “practically all ships leaving Sevastopol with a load of grain are carrying the grain stolen from Ukraine,” referring to a major port on the Black Sea.