“Grain War” Ends as Poland and Ukraine Streamline Grain Transit

In a historic agreement, Poland and Ukraine reshape the future of Ukrainian grain exports, putting an end to the “grain war.”

A combine harvester at work near Kramatorsk, Donetsk region, during the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
A combine harvester at work near Kramatorsk, Donetsk region, during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Photo: Anatolii Stepanov / AFP

Warsaw, October 3, 2023: In a significant development, Warsaw and Kyiv announced on Tuesday a breakthrough in their efforts to resolve the ongoing “grain war.” The two nations have agreed to expedite the transit of Ukrainian cereal exports through Poland to third countries, marking a pivotal moment in this long-standing dispute.

The trilateral agreement, involving Poland, Ukraine, and Lithuania, aims to streamline the export of Ukrainian grains, particularly to markets in Africa and the Middle East. Under this arrangement, Ukrainian grain exports will now be transported directly through Poland, bypassing the need for inspections at the Poland-Ukraine border.

Polish Agriculture Minister Robert Telus emphasized the importance of this agreement, stating, “From tomorrow, grains destined for world markets via Lithuania will undergo checks at a Lithuanian port, rather than at the Poland-Ukraine border.”

This development comes in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which disrupted traditional Black Sea grain export routes. To navigate this crisis, Ukraine began transporting crops overland through the European Union.

However, logistical challenges resulted in a surplus of grain in EU states neighboring Ukraine, causing a downward pressure on local prices. Brussels initially allowed some countries to impose temporary embargoes on Ukrainian grain exports. When these restrictions were lifted, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia extended the ban, leading to diplomatic tensions between Kyiv and its allies.

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With this breakthrough agreement, the transit of Ukrainian grains through Poland is expected to alleviate these issues and provide a smoother pathway for Ukrainian grain exports to reach global markets.

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