Ukraine seeks to reopen grain transit through Poland as import bans increase

  • Poland, Ukraine hold talks on traffic embargo
  • Poland, Hungary import ban, Slovakia follows
  • The EU executive has warned against unilateral measures
  • The European Union is set to discuss Ukraine’s grain embargo this week

KYIV, April 17 (Reuters) – Kyiv aims to reopen food and grain transit through Poland as a “first step” to end import restrictions at talks in Warsaw on Monday. Arrival of delivery.

Poland and Hungary have banned some imports from Ukraine. Slovakia said on Monday it would do the same and other countries in central and eastern Europe were considering taking action.

Some Black Sea ports have been blocked since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began in February last year and large volumes of Ukrainian grain – cheaper than that produced in the EU – have ended up in central European countries due to logistical disruptions.

Local farmers say prices have fallen and sales have fallen, prompting governments to ask the European Union to take action.

“In our opinion, the first step should be to open transport, because it’s very important and it’s something that should be done unconditionally, and then we’ll talk about other things,” Ukrainian Agriculture Minister Mykola Solsky said.

Around 10% of Ukraine’s food exports cross the Polish border, Solsky said in comments posted on the Agriculture Ministry’s Telegram messaging app. About 6% of Ukraine’s farm exports are delivered to Hungary, he said.

Ukraine will hold more talks this week in Romania on Wednesday and Slovakia on Thursday, Zolsky added.

Poland’s ban, which has been in place since Saturday evening, has also been used to prevent grain traffic from entering the Polish market, as well as transit through the country.

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“The ultimate goal is not for the import ban to remain in force indefinitely, but to ensure that grain exported from Ukraine goes (to its destination),” Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Pawel Jablonski told RMF radio station.

Talks between Ukraine and Poland were scheduled to begin at 12:00 pm (1000 GMT) on Monday in Warsaw, Polish Agriculture Minister Robert Delus told TVP Info.

Joint EU action ‘inevitable’

Meanwhile, sanctions on Ukrainian imports have begun to increase.

Slovakia plans to temporarily halt imports of grain and other selected goods from Ukraine, a government spokesman said on Monday.

Hungary’s Agriculture Minister Istvan Nagy said a solution beyond the national level is needed. “Joint European action and EU action are inevitable,” he said.

The prime ministers of Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia raised the issue in a letter to the European Commission last month. They said tariffs on Ukrainian imports should be considered, and states have pressed for a procurement mechanism to buy cheaper grain.

EU diplomats are to discuss sanctions on Poland and Hungary this week – a senior EU official said after the bloc’s executive said on Sunday that unilateral action was unacceptable.

The official said there was a problem as low global prices and demand meant the grain was staying in the block instead of being sold.

Ukraine routinely exports its agricultural products, particularly grain, through Black Sea ports that were lifted last July under an agreement between Ukraine, Turkey, Russia and the United Nations.

That deal expires on May 18 and Moscow said last week it would not be extended unless the West lifted sanctions on Russian grain and fertilizer exports.

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Statement by Pavel Polityuk; Written by Tom Balmforth; Editing by Timothy Heritage

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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