Five member states urge EU to ban grain imports from Russia and Belarus

Grain imports
Grain imports

Agriculture ministers of Poland, Czechia, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia have called on the European Commission to ban grain imports from Russia and Belarus to the EU, Lithuanian broadcaster LRT reported on March 20.

The ministers who signed the appeal said Russia is using profits from its grain exports to the EU to finance its war against Ukraine.

Read also: Polish farmers blockade railway near Ukraine border, dump grain in protest

"As EU member countries, we believe it is our moral duty to stop any trade activity that could strengthen the ability of Russia and Belarus to continue the war in Ukraine," the statement reads.

Read also: Latvia becomes first EU country to ban grain imports from Russia and Belarus

They argued that the primary reason for the proposed ban is the grain stolen by Russia from occupied Ukrainian territories, which is included in the imports. The ministers also mentioned that imported Russian grain distorts EU’s domestic agricultural markets, putting additional pressure on European farmers.

Lithuania's Agriculture Minister Kęstutis Navickas believes that current EU sanctions against Russia are insufficient and that "additional measures to limit access of Russian goods to the European market are necessary."

Read also: Polish farmers look for Ukrainian grain at Lithuania border

Navickas urged the European Commission to consider limiting the import of food products from Russia and Belarus to the EU, adding that it should be done collectively, by the entire European Union.

According to him, in 2023, the EU imported 1.53 million tons of Russian grain worth EUR 437.5 million ($477 million).

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