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Spain leads a plan to remove 8,000 tons of cereal from Ukraine by train vetoed by Russia

Spain leads a plan to remove 8,000 tons of cereal from Ukraine by train vetoed by Russia

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Spain is leading an initiative to try to get up to 8,000 tons of grain from Ukraine by train, the export of which has been blocked by Russia since the outbreak of the war. The plan – which has been presented by Pedro Sanchez to its European partners during the summit that concludes this Friday in Brussels – will be launched on July 15. The EU accuses Vladimir Putin of trying to provoke a world famine as a means of pressure in his conflict with kyiv.

The plan led by Spain foresees that the grain will travel from Ukraine through Poland, Germany, Luxembourg and France and will be deposited in silos in the ports of Barcelona, ​​Tarragona or Cartagena. A tour that will take about six days, as reported by government sources. From there, it will be exported to the destinations that kyiv decides, in particular the North African countries where the blockade is driving up prices and causing shortages.

Ukraine is a world agricultural power in wheat, barley, corn or sunflower oil. But shipments abroad have been drastically limited since the outbreak of the war due to the blockade of the Ukrainian Black Sea ports by the Russian navy. Ports that represented 90% of agricultural exports before the conflict.

[La UE busca vías alternativas para desbloquear las exportaciones agrícolas de Ucrania]

In total, the EU estimates that there are 20 million tons blocked, which must be taken out before the end of summer. Turkey is acting as an intermediary in the United Nations between Moscow and kyiv to unblock the Black Sea ports, without results so far. Hence, Brussels has made it a priority to seek alternative routes by train that do not depend on the goodwill of the Kremlin.

With its plan, Spain foresees take 600 tons of cereals out of Ukraine during the month of July. Starting in August, more trains will be added, with the aim of reaching 8,000 tons in a first pilot phase between July and September. The intention is that the initiative be maintained over time to continue facilitating the export of Ukrainian products.

[Borrell: “El suministro mundial de alimentos está en peligro por la invasión de Rusia a Ucrania”]

The project is coordinated by the Ministry of Transport and It is based on public-private collaboration, with the participation of Renfe and the French SNCFwhich will provide locomotives and wagons.

Among the main problems are the differences in the width of the tracks: Ukrainian wagons are not compatible with most of the EU rail network, so almost all goods must be transferred to wagons that fit the EU standard gauge. In fact, the grain will have to go first from Ukrainian to Polish trains and then to Spanish or French trains.

The head of European diplomacy, Joseph Borrell, has said that Russia’s current blockade of Ukrainian ports amounts to a “war crime.” “It is clear that the first victims will be vulnerable populations around the world, particularly in low-income countries that depend on imported food and fertilizers,” warns the head of community diplomacy. The most exposed regions are the Sahel and the Horn of Africa.

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Written by Editor TLN

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