Only a fortnight after Russia pulled out of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Ukraine and Croatia have reached an agreement for the use of Croatian ports to facilitate the export of Ukrainian grain. The announcement was made by the press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, following discussions between the foreign ministers of Ukraine and Croatia, Gordan Grlić-Radman and Dmytro Kuleba, respectively.
“We have agreed on the possibility of using Croatian ports on the Danube [River] and in the Adriatic Sea for the transportation of Ukrainian grain. Now we will work to lay the most efficient routes to these ports and make the most of this opportunity,” Kuleba said.
Aside from the grain export agreement, the meeting also covered other essential matters, including the potential supply of weapons, preparations for an upcoming international conference on demining Ukraine, and the implementation of President Vladimir Zelensky’s “Formula of Peace.”
On July 17, Russia withdrew from the grain deal, citing unfulfilled agreements by Ukraine. Shortly after that, Russia began conducting frequent missile attacks in southern Ukraine, mainly targeting the Odesa region and the infrastructure of ports involved in the grain deal.
In the nine days following Russia’s withdrawal, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine reported significant damage caused by the Russian attacks. Approximately 180,000 tons of agricultural products were destroyed, along with 26 port infrastructure facilities and 5 civilian vessels.
As a response to the situation, Lithuanian authorities have proposed an alternative means for Ukraine to export its agricultural products. They approached the European Commission with a proposal to use ports located on the Baltic Sea. According to Lithuanian authorities, the Baltic states’ ports could handle up to 25 million tons of grain annually.
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