Hungary has offered its territory as a possible route for Ukrainian grain exports due to the disruption of usual routes via the Black Sea caused by Russia's invasion, Hungarian foreign minister Peter Szijjarto has said.
Ukraine is usually a major global grain and oilseed grower, but its exports have fallen sharply since Russia's invasion on 24 February. Because of a Russian blockade of Ukraine's Black Sea ports, Kyiv is trying to export by road, river and rail.
The fall in production and exports has stoked fears of a global food crisis and the war, together with Western sanctions against Russia, has sent the price of grain, cooking oil, fertiliser and energy soaring.
"We have offered to let through Hungary's territory, moreover, to facilitate the passage of any food shipments destined for various parts of the world from Ukraine, mainly to North Africa or the Middle East," Szijjarto said.
Exports Via Hungary
Szijjarto, who made the proposal at a meeting of EU foreign ministers, did not elaborate on the amount of grain that Ukraine could export via Hungary but added that two logistical hubs on its eastern border could be deployed to ease the glut.
"So in case any type of grain or other produce were to be exported from Ukraine to the Middle East or North Africa through Hungary, that could happen quickly," Szijjarto said. "Rail access to ports in Southeastern Europe is fast from Hungary."
Szijjarto said Hungary had also offered transport capacities for Ukrainian grain.
The minister added that Hungary, which broke ranks with the European Union in April to meet a demand from the Kremlin to pay for Russian gas in roubles, expected no disruption in Russian gas supplies to Hungary.