Safe export of Ukrainian grain impossible without land corridors to EU - minister

Safe export of Ukrainian grain impossible without land corridors to EU - minister

Given the unpredictability of Russia’s behavior in the Black Sea, the "solidarity corridors" created on land routes between Ukraine and the EU remain extremely important not only for business interests, but also for security reasons.

This was stated by Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food Mykola Solskyi, who spoke at a press conference following the meeting of the Council of EU Ministers on Agriculture and Fisheries in Brussels, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

"After the war ends, after we win, Russia will still remain our neighbor, and based on what we see, it’s an unpredictable neighbor. In such conditions, this question – to necessarily have alternative routes through friendly democracies – turns into a matter of security, not just business," the minister said.

Read also: Enough wheat in Ukraine to cover own demand, help others - Agrarian Minister

He reported that in August, Ukraine exported 4.5 million tonnes of grain, of which 3 million – through the European "solidarity corridors" and another 1.5 million – through the Black Sea ports, unblocked according to the Istanbul agreements.

"In September, I think, the European route will increase (volume of transportation - ed.) by 5-10%, sea transport will add 60%. But we don't know what will happen next with the sea – no one can be sure for obvious reasons. At the same time, any problem with the Black Sea corridors will provoke a new wave of swift price hikes," Solskyi noted.

The minister recalled that Putin's statement about the "improper" use of the Black Sea corridors – the mere emergence of this gross misinformation – immediately provoked an increase in food prices by 2-3%. Therefore, Russia's actual disruption of the Istanbul "grain" agreements in a month or two could have a very significant impact on the price level, prompting some countries in the Middle East and Asia to create grain stocks, which will trigger new price spikes.

According to the government official, relying on the cheaper - compared to land - sea route of transportation, one should always keep two points in mind.

The first is that the distance from Western Ukraine to ports on the Baltic Sea is no greater than to Ukrainian ports, which makes these logistics competitive even in peacetime.

The second important (and probably the main) argument is the unpredictable behavior of Russia, which can at any moment arbitrarily block navigation in the Black Sea. This behavior of the Russian Federation is one of the biggest threats to stability and at the same time a convincing motivation for the development of transport corridors between Ukraine and the EU via land routes.

As reported, after the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Russia blocked Ukrainian Black Sea ports, as a result of which more than 20 million tonnes of Ukrainian grain failed to be exported. This has triggered an increase in global food prices, leading to the threat of famine in the most vulnerable countries across Africa and Asia.

Thanks to the "grain" initiative of the UN and the agreements signed in Istanbul, the international community managed to resume the export of Ukrainian grain for international consumers via the Black Sea transport routes. At the same time, the European Union organized the so-called "solidarity corridors" on the borders between the EU and Ukraine, for the export of Ukrainian grain by land, using rail, road, and river transport, to ensure  its delivery to the consumer countries.

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