Ukraine and Poland reached an agreement to accelerate grain transit and move controls to Lithuania

Trucks wait at the border between Ukraine and Poland, in the Lviv region (Reuters) (STRINGER/)

Warsaw and kyiv announced this Tuesday that they had agreed accelerate the transit of Ukrainian grain exports through Poland to third countries, a first step to resolve their grain conflict.

He tripartite agreement between Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania means that Ukrainian grain exports – destined mainly for African and Middle Eastern markets – will pass directly through Poland instead of first being checked at the border.

“Starting tomorrow, grains transiting (to world markets) through Lithuania will undergo checks at a Lithuanian port and not at the Polish-Ukrainian border“, Polish Agriculture Minister Robert Telus told reporters in relation to an issue that has clouded relations between both allies in recent weeks.

The agreement is the result of an online meeting between the Polish minister and his Ukrainian (Mykola Solsky) and Lithuanian (Kyastutis Navickas) counterparts, and has been described by Telus as “part of the construction of the solidarity corridor with Ukraine.”

For his part, the Ukrainian minister confirmed that the measure, which he referred to as a “constructive step”, will allow “moving veterinary, sanitary and phytosanitary controls” to the Lithuanian port, which will speed up the transit of goods through Poland.

Checks in Lviv (Reuters)
Controls in Lviv (Reuters) (STRINGER/)

After the Russian invasion prevented Ukraine from using its traditional Black Sea routes to export grain to world markets, crops were shipped overland through the European Union.

But due to logistical problems, grain began to accumulate in EU states neighboring Ukraine and lower local prices.

The announcement of this agreement occurs in the middle of the diplomatic crisis that cross Poland and Ukraine and whose origin is the unilateral Polish veto on the import of agri-food products from Ukraine, after the restrictions imposed by Brussels expired on September 15.

Poland’s refusal to lift the veto led Kiev to denounce Warsaw before the World Trade Organization (WTO), which led to a verbal escalation between both countries and the deterioration of their relations.

The Government of Poland, which faces parliamentary elections in less than two weeks, maintains that the arrival of cheap agri-food products from Ukraine is destabilizing the domestic market, as denounced by farmers in that country.

However, despite the rudeness that both allies have exchanged in recent weeks, Warsaw has committed to making possible “solidarity corridors” that allow the departure of Ukrainian products to third countries by land without affecting the Polish market.

(With information from AFP and EFE)