The E.U. ban, which was implemented in May and expired at midnight on Friday, covered exports of wheat, maize, rapeseed, and sunflower seeds to Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.
The ban was a response to concerns from those nations that a flood of cheap, tariff-free food imports from Ukraine was hurting their own farmers. All five had imposed tight restrictions on imports of Ukrainian grain before the E.U. ban came into effect, frustrating officials in Brussels and Kyiv.
The pushback against Ukrainian grain imports from Europe’s formerly communist eastern lands was a rare, and awkward, note of discord on the continent after remarkable European support for Ukraine’s war effort for more than a year after the full-scale invasion of February 2022.
They are the latest wrinkle in a long list of Ukraine’s grain woes, as fighting has raged around Ukraine’s agricultural heartland and after a huge explosion at the Kakhovka dam caused epic floods downstream and a punishing drought upstream.
This summer, Russia abandoned a deal that allowed Ukraine to safely ship tens of millions of tons or grain via the Black Sea despite the fighting, raising renewed concerns about a global food crisis. The Russian military has since specifically targeted grain warehouses and port infrastructure around the Black Sea. Dozens of facilities have been destroyed, Ukrainian officials have said, by Russian assault drones.