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HAMBURG — Russian assaults on Ukraine’s grain infrastructure appear to be makes an attempt to cut back the competitors in Russia’s export markets, German Agriculture Minister Cem Oezdemir was reported as saying on Monday.

Ukraine might lose tens of hundreds of thousands of tonnes of grain as a consequence of Russia’s blockade of its Black Sea ports, triggering a meals disaster that may hit Europe, Asia and Africa, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy mentioned on Monday.

“We’re repeatedly receiving experiences about focused Russian assaults on grain silos, fertilizer shops, farming areas and infrastructure,” Oezdemir was quoted as telling the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland, a cooperation community of German regional newspapers.

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Russia denies concentrating on civilian areas.

The suspicion is rising that Russian President Vladimir Putin is in search of “in the long run to take away Ukraine as a competitor”, Oezdemir was quoted as saying.

Russia and Ukraine are historically main rivals in world grains markets. International wheat costs have risen about 40% since Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine reduce provides out there on world markets from the Black Sea.

Based on Worldwide Grains Council knowledge, Ukraine was the world’s fourth-largest grain exporter within the 2020/21 season, promoting 44.7 million tonnes overseas. The amount of exports has fallen sharply for the reason that Russian invasion.

“With the rising starvation on the earth, Russia is in search of to construct up strain,” Oezdemir informed the community. “On the similar time, the huge enhance in market costs is coming in useful for Russia as a result of this brings new cash into the nation.”

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Oezdemir mentioned he would increase the query of how Ukraine might be helped to spice up its grain exports at a gathering of G7 agriculture ministers in mid-Might.

“We should search various transport strategies,” he mentioned. “Railway transport might be a way of exporting extra grain, though with a lot effort and with restricted capability.”

Germany would search to provide help, he added.

Ukraine has been step by step increasing grain exports utilizing land transport to the European Union. However the totally different rail monitor widths in Ukraine and the EU imply Ukrainian trains can not robotically function on the European rail community.

Moscow calls its actions a “particular army operation” to disarm Ukraine and rid it of anti-Russian nationalism fomented by the West. Ukraine and the West say Russia launched an unprovoked conflict of aggression that threatens to spiral right into a a lot wider battle. (Reporting by Michael Hogan, enhancing by Nick Macfie)

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