KYIV, UKRAINE — More than 1 million tonnes of grains and oilseeds stranded on blocked commercial vessels in Ukrainian seaports may be deteriorate in the near future, Mykoa Solskyi, Ukraine’s farm minister, told the Ukravinska Pravada newspaper on April 15.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began on Feb. 24, shipments from Ukrainian ports have been blocked by the Russians, leaving only rail routes into Eastern Europe as viable options for grain exporters. Ukraine typically exports up to 6 million tonnes of grains and oilseeds a month but only shipped about 200,000 tonnes in March.

“It (the cargo) is not unloaded, and is still on vessels,” Solskyi told Ukravinska Pravada. “There are currently 57 vessels with 1.25 million tonnes of grain and oilseeds. As for the retention period, I think that even the captains themselves in most cases do not know if there are any problems with this. They certainly did not plan to keep this grain on the ships for a long time.”

Ukraine is the world’s top exporter of sunflower seed oil and is among the top five exporters of wheat and corn.