Germany helps move Ukraine grain by rail: US defense official

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Germany is working to transport by rail millions of tons of grain, currently blocked in Ukraine’s sea ports by the Russia military, a top US defense official said Thursday.

The flow of grain exports from Ukraine, known as Europe’s bread basket, has been disrupted since Russia’s February 24 invasion, threatening food security around the world.

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Addressing US lawmakers on Thursday, General Christopher Cavoli, nominated as the next head of the US European Command, said up to 22 million tons of grain are being held up in Ukraine by Russia’s blockade of its neighbor’s ports.

To remedy that, Germany’s railway company recently dedicated a special train service to get the exports out.

“The German Deutsche Bahn has recently stepped up,” Cavoli said during his confirmation hearing in the US Senate. “They are doing what they call a Berlin train lift, an analogy to the Berlin Airlift, to dedicate trains to pulling wheat right out of Ukraine into western Europe.”

Cavoli said Poland has established a facilitated border crossing regime with Germany to ease the deliveries. Once out of Poland, the grain travels to Germany’s norther ports for further export, he said.

Meanwhile, Romania has made its Black Sea port of Constanta available for Ukraine’s grain, which can move some 90,000 tons a day.

“So I think it’s going to be a combination of modes of transportation that we’re going to have to use,” Cavoli said.

The United Nations has warned that a growing global food crisis could last years if it goes unchecked, calling for Ukraine’s grain to be released.

Read more:

Explainer: Ukraine looks for ways to get its grain out

Moscow says opening Ukraine ports would need review of sanctions on Russia

Putin says Russia ready to help solve food crisis if West lifts sanctions

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