Zelensky thanked Bulgaria for Stopping the Restriction on Ukrainian GrainUkraine | September 14, 2023, Thursday // 17:21| views
Zelensky (left) and Denkov (right)
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday that he was grateful to Bulgaria for not extending restrictions on Ukrainian grain exports that were set to expire on September 15.
"I am grateful to Bulgaria for its decision not to prolong restrictions on Ukraine’s agricultural exports after September 15th. I thank PM Nikolai Denkov and his team, as well as Bulgarian parliamentarians who supported this move. Bulgaria sets an example of true solidarity," Zelensky wrote on the X platform.
A day earlier, Hungary's agriculture minister said his country had agreed with Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia to ban imports of Ukrainian grain to protect their markets if the European Union did not extend the ban. Istvan Nagy posted a video on Facebook that the new national ban will apply to a wider range of Ukrainian products than the current measures.
"We have agreed with my Romanian, Slovak and Bulgarian colleagues that if there is no decision from Brussels to extend the existing moratorium, then we will take individual national measures," Nagy said in a video address.
Slovakia's government confirmed on Wednesday that it would maintain the ban. "The government is ready, if the (European) Commission does not [extend the ban], to approve an import ban in an extraordinary meeting, in the same way as now," said Agriculture Minister Jozef Bires.
"You have already seen from the announcements from Poland and Hungary that these countries will apply unilateral restrictions from this point of view as well and we have to do it because Slovakia will face increased transport (of grain) through Slovakia and this grain may remain in Slovakia."
Romania's agriculture ministry said it would make a decision after the European Commission ruled. "What is certain is that if the ban is not extended, we have enforcement solutions that will protect our farmers," it said in a statement.
The commission announced "temporary preventive measures" in May that banned sales in Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Slovakia, while allowing transit through them to non-EU markets, mainly in Africa. Those measures expire on Friday.
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