Poland backs down from Ukrainian grain ban, says grain transit will resume but with safeguards

Polish Agriculture Minister Robert Telus (L) announcing the deal with Ukrainians on the transit of grain through Poland. (Source: TT@MRiRW_GOV)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

Talks between Poland and Ukraine on the ban on the import of Ukrainian grain and agricultural products into Poland were completed on Tuesday, with Poland agreeing that grain transit from Ukraine would resume.

Over the last few days, Poland, Hungary and Slovakia announced they were halting all grain transports from Ukraine, along with a range of other food items. Now, Poland is the first country to step back from its position, which was harshly criticized by the European Union.

Polish Minister for Agriculture Robert Telus said at a press conference with Ukrainian ministers that the “EU had closed its eyes to the problem of large grain imports into Poland.”

Telus also said that Poland had been in continuous contact with Ukraine to facilitate transit as long as it could be guaranteed that the grain would not remain in Poland. He was relieved that an agreement had been struck and that “not a single ton of Ukrainian grain will remain in Poland.”

Poalnd’s agriculture minister further explained that means of verification to ensure the grain is not stored in Poland have been introduced. First of all, each grain convoy would be tracked by Poland’s customs and excise service. Second, the cargo carrying the grain would be sealed electronically and monitored in terms of its destination outside of Poland. This meant that the idea of “solidarity corridors” for the export of grain from Ukraine would actually reach locations in Africa and the Middle East instead of staying in Poland.

There would be no opportunity for the Ukrainians to withdraw from the transit, as the ultimate destination could not be changed. In essence, the agreement facilitates transit through Polish ports and also transit into other European states. 

Telus said he was convinced that the agreement would secure the interests of Polish farmers. 

Speaking at the same press conference, Waldemar Buda, the Polish minister for development and technology, assured that the same arrangements would apply to other agricultural products.

Yulia Svyrydenko, the Ukrainian deputy prime minister responsible for economic affairs, confirmed that transit would be unblocked by Friday. She said that Ukraine understood the concerns of Polish farmers and that the Polish side appreciated that Ukrainian farmers had been badly affected by the war.

The Ukrainian deputy prime minister assured that Ukrainian exporters would keep to the agreement. She blamed Russian aggression for the situation and urged both parties to ensure that Russia could not benefit from the situation. 

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