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France-Romania deal to export more grain from Ukraine to be signed Monday

The French and Romanian governments on Monday will sign an agreement allowing more grain exports from Ukraine to reach Europe and beyond, said France’s Transport Minister Clément Beaune Sunday.

“Tomorrow I will sign an agreement with Romania to allow Ukraine to send even more grain, because it is an essential resource for the country and for many other countries that benefit from it,” Beaune told French radio FranceInter, adding that the cereals will be shipped “to Europe and to developing countries, especially in the Mediterranean, which need it for food and for their survival almost.”

The agreement aims to solve some of the bottlenecks of the EU solidarity lanes with Ukraine.

It comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin last week threatened to limit grain exports through the Black Sea and claimed that most of the cereals leaving Ukraine were feeding the EU market instead of going to developing countries.

A British defense intelligence bulletin on Sunday stated that “Putin’s claim is not true. According to UN figures, around 30 percent has been supplied to low and middle-income countries in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.”

The U.K. Defense Ministry added that “Russia is pursuing a deliberate misinformation strategy as it seeks to deflect blame for food insecurity issues, discredit Ukraine and minimize opposition to its invasion.”

Beaune said the deal with Romania will cover exports “by river, sea and land.”

“I am proud that, through a European action, by finding land routes, we have been able to almost come back to the same level of grain exports that Ukraine had before the war,” Beaune said.

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