Berlin is planning to set up a test corridor for exporting Ukrainian grain by rail, German Ambassador to Ukraine Anka Feldhusen said on Monday.
“In the near future, the export of Ukrainian grain through the Odessa ports is impossible, so we need to work on the possibility of exporting through Poland. Germany plans to facilitate this, in particular with the help of German railways. We are working with our Ukrainian partners to implement such test transportation,” the ambassador stated, as cited by UNIAN news agency.
The EU has stepped up efforts to create “corridors of solidarity” for the transportation of Ukrainian grain by land, worried by the prospect of a food crisis if supplies do not reach their destination. Ukraine, a major grain producer, is unable to export its grain by sea due to the ongoing conflict in the country, with an estimated 22-25 million tons of grain currently stuck in Ukraine’s ports. Western nations have accused Russia of blocking these exports, but Moscow says the Ukrainian military is to blame because they mined the ports.
Currently, options for the export of Ukrainian grain by land are in the works, but according to German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, it is unlikely that all the grain can be extracted.
“It is clear that in the end we will definitely not be able to take out all the grain, but if we at least manage to release some of it along different routes, then this would help counteract the global [food crisis],” Baerbock said on Monday upon arrival at a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Luxembourg. She stressed that Berlin is currently negotiating with Romania and Poland on possible ways to salvage Ukraine’s exports.
Russian President Vladimir Putin recently said that Moscow would guarantee the unimpeded passage of ships carrying Ukrainian grain if Kiev cleared its ports of mines or could ensure the export of goods through Russian-controlled seaports such as Berdiansk and Mariupol. However, during the SPIEF economic forum in St. Petersburg last week, he said that there are five or six other options, and suggested that Kiev should choose one without the influence of their Western partners.