KYIV, UKRAINE — With the end of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, Croatian seaports have become an outlet for Ukrainian grain shipments amid its war with Russia, Reuters reported, citing a senior Ukrainian official.

Ukraine has been seeking to expand its available export routes since Russia exited the grain deal in July, bottling up Black Sea ports again while repeatedly attacking Ukraine’s grain infrastructure, including along the Danube River.

Originally brokered by Turkey and the United Nations following Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, the grain deal had allowed for the safe passage of 33 million tonnes of grain through the Black Sea. 

During a visit to Zagreb in late July, Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said that Ukraine and Croatia had agreed on the possibility of using Croatian ports on the Danube and the Adriatic Sea for the export of Ukrainian grain.

“Ukrainian grain has already been exported through Croatian ports,” Ukraine First Deputy Prime Minister Yulia Svyrydenko said. “We are grateful for this possibility. Although it is a niche trade route, it is already popular. We are ready to develop it by expanding the capabilities of the transport corridor. We believe that this logistics route will play an important role in bilateral trade between our countries even after the war.”

Svyrydenko did not say how much Ukrainian grain already had been shipped via Croatian ports.

 The Ukrainian Grain Association (UGA) said this week the 2023 combined grain and oilseed harvest could reach 80.5 million tonnes, with about 49 million tonnes available for the 2023-24 July-June export season. The agriculture ministry said this month that exports totaled 4.5 million tonnes as of Sept. 1. Ukraine has been among the world’s top suppliers of wheat, corn and sunflower oil.