EU seeks to release Ukrainian grain stuck due to Russia's sea blockade

Feature 21 June 2022
EU seeks to release Ukrainian grain stuck due to Russia's sea blockade

European Union foreign minsters discussed how to release millions of tonnes of grain trapped in Ukraine because of Russia's Black Sea port blocking at a meeting in Luxembourg on June 20.

Ukraine is a major supplier of wheat worldwide, but its grain shipments are stuck and more than 20,000,000 tonnes have been frozen in silos since Russia invaded and blocked its ports.

Moscow denies any responsibility for the current food crisis, and instead blames Western sanctions. This has caused a rise in global food prices as well as warnings from the United Nations about hunger in countries that heavily rely on imported grain.

The EU supports the United Nations' efforts to broker a deal for Ukraine to resume its sea exports in exchange for Russian food and fertilizer exports. However, Moscow would have to approve this.

Turkey is in good relations with Moscow and Kyiv, and it has indicated that it is open to taking up a position within an "observation mechanism" located in Istanbul if there's a deal.

It is not clear if the EU would be involved in securing such an agreement militarily.

An EU official stated that "Whether there will need to escort these commercial vessels in the future, that's a questionmark and I don't believe we are there yet."

According to an EU official, talks are ongoing between EU member states about a new set of sanctions against Russia. However, he said that no fresh measures are imminent.

According to an official, Russia's gas exports are already subject to extensive sanctions. There is no way to agree to impose new sanctions on Russia.

EU Reporter