In light of Russia's
withdrawal from a U.N.-backed Black Sea exports deal, the European Union is
actively pursuing the transportation of more Ukrainian grains through road and
rail networks, according to a Reuters report.
On July 18th, Russia targeted Ukrainian grain ports shortly after stepping away from an agreement that had previously facilitated the secure export of Ukrainian grain amidst the Russia-Ukraine conflict. The ramifications of this situation are significant, with the EU's top diplomat, Josep Borrell, emphasizing to reporters during the bloc's summit with Latin America and the Caribbean that this move will deprive hundreds of thousands of people worldwide of essential food. "They are using hunger as a weapon. This is one of the worst things that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin could have done," he stated.
Reuters also reported on the bloc's response to Russia's actions, with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar revealing plans to expand land export routes for Ukrainian grains through the solidarity lanes. These lanes entail road and rail links through Ukraine's EU neighbors, including Moldova. “There are other ways to get the grain out of Ukraine, for example through Romania and through Poland. If the Russians persist in this policy of preventing Ukraine from exporting grain and fertilizer, we will have to find other ways to get the grain out," he told the same event in Brussels. "What Russia's done is very wrong, it's not going to just affect people in Ukraine, it's going to affect people in the poorest parts of the world."
Before the February 2022 attack by Russia, a substantial portion of Ukraine's grain production, around three quarters, was exported to Europe, China, and Africa, with the majority of grain and oilseeds passing through Black Sea ports. However, Reuters reported that this pattern has changed since Russia initiated the war, with approximately 60% of Ukraine's grain exports now taking the route through the EU's solidarity lanes. This shift in grain transit has raised concerns in countries like Poland and other EU nations bordering Ukraine, where local farmers have faced mounting pressure due to increased Ukrainian imports.