WARSAW: Warsaw and Kyiv announced today they had agreed to speed up the transit of Ukrainian cereal exports through Poland to third countries, a first step in resolving their “grain war”.
The three-nation agreement between Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania means that Ukrainian grain exports – destined for markets in Africa and the Middle East in particular – will be taken directly through Poland instead of first being checked at the Poland-Ukraine border.
“From tomorrow, grains that transit (to world markets) via Lithuania will undergo checks at a Lithuanian port and not at the Poland-Ukraine border,” Polish agriculture minister Robert Telus told journalists.
“Within the next two days, veterinary, sanitary, and phytosanitary controls at the Ukrainian-Polish border will be transferred to the port of Klaipeda (Lithuania) for all agricultural cargo destined for this port. This will expedite transit through Poland,” a statement published on the website of the Ukrainian ministry of agriculture reads.
After Russia’s invasion prevented Ukraine using its traditional Black Sea routes to export grain to world markets, the crops were sent by land through the European Union.
But because of logistical issues, grain began piling up in EU states neighbouring Ukraine and driving down local prices.
Brussels allowed several countries to impose a temporary embargo on Ukrainian grains.
But when it ended those restrictions, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia extended the ban, causing a diplomatic spat between Kyiv and its allies.
Poland-Ukraine ‘grain war’ escalates dangerously
Polish prime minister Mateusz Morawiecki has decided to stop supplying Ukraine with weapons in its war against Russia in reaction to escalating tensions between the two countries over grain imports.
Without mentioning Poland by name, Zelensky said that “some in Europe play out solidarity in political theatre”, while actually setting the stage “for the Moscow actor”.
The conflict escalated further after the Polish PM stated that Warsaw would stop providing Kyiv with weapons as a response.
The conflict looks absurd, because Poland has been in the forefront of countries helping Ukraine against the Russian aggressor.
Commentators said that the reasons behind the conflict may be the upcoming Oct 15 general elections in Poland.
The ruling PiS party is suspected of making moves to please a conservative segment of the electorate which opposes aid to Ukraine.