France working on land route for Ukrainian crops after Russian deal withdrawal
PARIS, Oct 31 (Reuters) - France is working towards allowing Ukraine to export food supplies via land routes rather than by the Black Sea through Poland or Romania, the French farming minister said on Monday, after Russia withdrew from a crucial export deal amid its war with Ukraine.
"We are looking to see whether, if it cannot pass through the Black Sea, if it can instead pass through overland routes, (...) in particular by looking at land routes through Romania and Poland," Agriculture Minister Marc Fesneau told RMC Radio.
"We will continue to work towards a system which does not put us in the hands and the good will, or in this case the bad will, of Vladimir Putin," said Fesneau, referring to the Russian president.
On Saturday, Russia suspended its participation in the U.N. grain deal for an "indefinite term", after what it said was a major Ukrainian drone attack on its Black Sea fleet in Crimea.
The United Nations, Turkey and Ukraine pressed ahead to implement a Black Sea grain deal and agreed on a transit plan for Monday for 16 vessels to move forward, despite Russia's withdrawal from the pact that has allowed the export of Ukrainian agricultural products to world markets.
Russia's decision is likely to hit shipments to import-dependent countries. Prices of wheat and corn both rose on Monday following Russia's withdrawal from the agreement.
Fesneau on Monday said there would be "no direct consequence" for French consumers. (Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Tassilo Hummel; editing by Jason Neely)
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