Germany helps transport grain from Ukraine by rail: US defense official

Germany is working to transport millions of tonnes of grain by rail, currently blocked at Ukrainian seaports by the Russian military, a top US defense official said on Thursday.

The flow of grain exports from Ukraine, known as Europe’s basket of bread, has been disrupted since Russia’s February 24 invasion, threatening food security around the world.

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Speaking to US lawmakers on Thursday, General Christopher Cavoli, appointed as the next head of the US European Command, said that up to 22 million tonnes of grain are being held up in Ukraine by Russia’s blockade of its neighbour’s ports.

To remedy this, the German railway company recently dedicated a special train service to making exports.

“German Deutsche Bahn has stepped up recently,” Cavoli said during his US Senate confirmation hearing. “They’re making what they call a Berlin train elevator, an analogy to Berlin’s air transport, to dedicate trains to pulling wheat from Ukraine to Western Europe.”

Cavoli said Poland had established a facilitated border crossing regime with Germany to facilitate deliveries. Once outside Poland, the grain travels to northern German ports for further export, he said.

Meanwhile, Romania has made its Black Sea port of Constanta available for grain from Ukraine, which can handle around 90,000 tonnes a day.

“So I think it’s going to be a combination of modes of transport that we’re going to have to use,” Cavoli said.

The United Nations has warned that a growing global food crisis could last for years if left unchecked, calling for Ukraine’s grain to be released.

See More information:

Explainer: Ukraine looks for ways to get its grain

Moscow says opening ports in Ukraine would require review of sanctions on Russia

Putin says Russia ready to help solve food crisis if West lifts sanctions

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