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EU Looks to Release Ukrainian Grain Stuck by Russian Blockade

EU's top diplomat calls Russia's blockade 'a war crime'

2 Lisa Selfie December 2020 Headshot

On June 20, European Union foreign ministers gathered to discuss ways to free millions of tonnes of grain stuck in Ukraine due to Russia's Black Sea port blockade at a meeting in Luxembourg.

Reuters reports the EU supports efforts by the United Nations to broker a deal to resume Ukraine's sea exports in return for facilitating Russian food and fertilizer exports, but that would need Moscow's green light.

Turkey has good relations with both Kyiv and Moscow, and has said it is ready to take up a role within an "observation mechanism" based in Istanbul if there is a deal.

Germany and other countries are working on enabling grain transport via land routes to release at least some of the crop as the new harvest is starting while part of the old harvest is still sitting in Ukrainian silos.

Last week, President Joe Biden said the U.S. will build temporary silos on Poland’s border with Ukraine to facilitate the export of grain out of the war-torn nation and address surging food prices amid Russia’s invasion.

Diplomat: Russia's blockage of Ukrainian grain is a war crime

According to a related Reuters report, a the EU's foreign policy chief said Russia is committing a war crime by blocking the export of millions of tonnes of Ukrainian grain.

"One cannot imagine that millions of tonnes of wheat remain blocked in Ukraine while in the rest of the world people are suffering hunger," he told reporters as he arrived for the talks in Luxembourg. "This is a real war crime."

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