Ukraine and Romania today (18 August) signed a deal to allow Kyiv to transit more grain through its neighbour’s territory.

Russia has launched attacks on Ukraine’s ports since breaking off a deal to allow shipments to move through the Black Sea last month.

Moscow then warned it would view all ships heading across the Black Sea to Ukraine as possibly carrying military equipment.

The Prime Ministers of Ukraine and Romania finalised the agreement at a meeting in Bucharest today (18 August).

Constanta, a Romanian port on the Black Sea, has become a major alternative shipping route for Ukraine, Reuters reported.

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“We hope that over 60% of the total volume of Ukrainian grain exports will transit Romania,” the news agency quoted Marcel Ciolacu, Romania’s Prime Minister, as saying after meeting his Ukrainian counterpart Denys Shmyhal.

Romania is one of five EU member states Brussels has allowed to ban grain imports from Ukraine to protect prices for domestic farmers.

The agreement with Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, first struck in May, was renewed in June and is set to elapse on 15 September.

The countries were unhappy farmers were having to compete with cheap imports coming in from neighbouring Ukraine.

Four products – wheat, maize, rapeseed and sunflower seeds – are covered by the deal. Shipments from Ukraine can continue to transit through the country’s five concerned neighbours and enter other EU states.

In a post on social media, Shmyhal said today: “Agreed with PM @CiolacuMarcel in Bucharest to strengthen cooperation for reliable transit of Ukrainian goods. Discussed the restoration and improvement of transport infrastructure. We plan to open new checkpoints on the border. Grateful to the Romania government for their support and solidarity.”