Russian-backed parts of southern Ukraine to sell grain to Middle East countries

Russian-backed parts of southern Ukraine to sell grain to Middle East countries
The planned deals include sales to Iraq, Iran and Saudia Arabia, according to Russian state media

Russia-backed authorities in parts of southern Ukraine have said they are going to start selling grain abroad, mainly to the Middle East, as part of a new trade agreement.

The planned deals include sales to Iraq, Iran and Saudia Arabia. The head of the Russian-installed administration in the region, Yevgeny Balitsky, reportedly said that there was a contract to supply 150,000 tonnes of grain to Iran.

Authorities in the southeastern Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine, which is partially under Russian control, said that they have now reached an agreement to ship grain abroad, Moscow’s state news agency Tass reported.

Ukraine has accused Russia of stealing its grain.

The war in Ukraine has significantly disrupted Ukraine’s grain exports via the Black Sea, and prompted fears of a worldwide food crisis.

Before the invasion, grain was one of Ukraine’s main industries, with exports totalling £10.14bn in 2021.

The country has been struggling to export grain because of the fighting, with the ports blocked and the railway system unable to cope with the extra volume.

Ukraine has accused Russia of seizing grain from territories occupied by the Russian army.

The deputy head of Ukraine’s agricultural producer’s union said that Russia had stolen around 600,000 tonnes of the foodstuff from occupied Ukrainian territory.

<p>A Russian soldier stands guard in the south Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine </p>

A Russian soldier stands guard in the south Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine

Speaking last month, Denys Marchuk said: “To date, about 600,000 tonnes have been stolen from agricultural companies and taken to the temporarily occupied territory of the Crimean Peninsula and from there it moves to ports, in particular to Sevastopol, and from there, ships go to the Middle East.”

It was reported in June that the self-declared Luhansk People’s Republic wold start rail shipments to Russia of grain that its troops had “liberated”.

Agricultural minister of Luhansk People’s Republic, Yuri Pronko, told Tass news agency that the first shipment was a “historical moment”.

<p>Members of a pro-Kremlin youth organisation ride their cars with flags of Luhansk People Republic as they celebrate announced by Russian authorities full control over Luhansk Region</p>

Members of a pro-Kremlin youth organisation ride their cars with flags of Luhansk People Republic as they celebrate announced by Russian authorities full control over Luhansk Region

He added: “The first wagons of grain will go to Russia, 50 wagons, more than 3,000 tonnes.”

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