Deliveries have spiked tenfold since last year, according to Eurostat © Getty Images / ygrek
The EU has significantly increased imports of Russian grain despite the bloc’s sanctions against the country, news outlet RIA Novosti reported on Saturday, citing European statistics agency Eurostat.
According to the report, in September the EU increased imports of Russian grain by 22% month-on-month to 180,000 tons, roughly ten times what had been bought from Russia during the same period last year. This was the highest figure since the start of the Ukraine conflict and subsequent Western sanctions war on Russia. The surge in imports allowed Russia to retake its place among the top-five grain suppliers to the 27-nation bloc for the first time in six months, coming in fourth.
Ukraine remained the largest grain supplier to the EU in the reporting period with 1.2 million tons, down by a quarter year-on-year. Brazil came in second with 1.1 million tons, followed by Türkiye with 204,000 tons. Canada closed out the top-five, with 139,000 tons.
Meanwhile, Eurostat statistics also showed that the EU has upped imports of Russian fertilizers in recent months. According to the data, in the period July to September, the sanctioned country’s share in extra-EU imports of the product bounced back to 27%, the same share it had in the third quarter of 2021, prior to the Ukraine conflict.
While neither Russian grain or its fertilizers have been directly sanctioned by the West, their export has been hindered in recent months by financial, shipping and insurance restrictions placed on Moscow. Russia has repeatedly called for these restrictions to be lifted.
The EU has so far imposed 11 rounds of Ukraine-related sanctions on Russia since early 2022, limiting the country’s access to its technologies and markets. The bloc’s overall purchases from Russia have fallen nearly fivefold since the imposition of restrictions, with Russia’s share of extra-EU imports dropping from 9.5% in February 2022 to 2% in September 2023.
Meanwhile, Russia has been successfully redirecting much of its trade to Asia, primarily to India and China.
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