Ukraine has filed complaints with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against Poland, Slovakia and Hungary over their bans on food imports from the country.
Ukrainian Trade Representative Taras Kachka had said Kyiv could impose reciprocal measures on Poland, if Warsaw did not drop the measures
Now, the first deputy prime minister of Ukraine, Yulia Svyrydenko, said Ukraine saw such restrictions as a violation of the EU countries’ international obligations, Sky News reports.
“For us, it is critically important to prove that individual member-states cannot ban imports of Ukrainian goods. And that is why we have filed suits through the WTO,” Ms Svyrydenko said in a statement.
“At the same time, we hope that these states will rescind their restrictions and there will be no need for us to settle our relations in the courts over a long period of time.”
She said instead Ukraine need “solidarity” with the three countries and the interests of farmers need to be defended.
It comes after the three countries announced restrictions on Ukrainian grain imports on Friday, after the European Commission decided not to extend its ban on imports into Ukraine’s five EU eastern European member states, which includes Romania and Bulgaria.
Restrictions imposed by the EU in May allowed Ukraine’s neighbours to ban domestic sales of Ukrainian wheat, maize, rapeseed and sunflower seeds, while permitting transit of such cargoes for export elsewhere.
The decision has caused slight tension among EU members, with Spain’s agriculture minister, Luis Planas Puchades, saying that the ban seemed illegal, while his French counterpart, Marc Fesneau, said they called European solidarity into question.
In response, Poland’s agriculture minister Robert Telus said: “We have to look forward, since Ukraine said it wants to sue Poland … every comment we would have made on this platform could be used against us.”
Up until now, some 60% of Ukrainian grain has transited through the five EU countries using so-called solidarity lanes as an alternative to the Black Sea due to Russian threats.
Meanwhile, in Bulgaria, hundreds of farmers gathered in their tractors to protest against a decision by Bulgarian politicians to allow imports from Ukraine to resume, saying the ban had deprived the government of tax revenue and led to higher food prices.
Many waved national flags and honked their horns as they blockaded main roads and disrupted traffic to express their anger, complaining that the move will cause an influx that drives down prices for local growers.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is expected to meet with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in New York on Wednesday, according to two Brazilian government sources.
It comes as a senior Ukrainian official said Mr Zelenskyy plans to attend the United Nations General Assembly in the US city.
He is also expected to meet with President Joe Biden at the White House on Thursday, according to NBC.
A meeting between Mr Zelenskyy and Lula could be momentous, as when the Ukraine war first began, hopes were highest that Brazil might support the Western position.
But earlier this year, the Brazilian leader attacked the US for “encouraging” and “incentivising” the Ukraine conflict.
In May, he also stated that both Moscow and Kyiv were to blame for the conflict, angering the US and European states who back Ukraine.
The country has since maintained a neutral stance, with foreign minister Fernando Haddad saying they are “too big to be choosing partners”.
Having never met in person, Lula and President Zelenskyy have spoken over video call back in March, days after Brazil voted for a UN resolution that called for peace and demanded Moscow withdraw its troops.