An intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in the field of demining was signed on Tuesday in Zagreb by First Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Economy of Ukraine Yulia Svyrydenko and Vice Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior of Croatia Davor Božinović in the presence of Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, the Ministry of Economy of Ukraine reports.
“Ukraine is very grateful to the Croatian people and the Croatian government for the political, military, financial and humanitarian support that our country and Ukrainians have received since the beginning of the large-scale invasion… And today, Ukraine needs Croatia’s experience in demining and reconstruction and rehabilitation,” Svyrydenko said during a conversation with Plenkovic.
She also thanked Croatia for the programs aimed at rehabilitation of Ukrainian defenders and children of Ukrainian soldiers.
Speaking during the signing of the agreement on cooperation in the field of demining, Svyrydenko noted that Croatian-made demining machines are already operating in Ukrainian fields, and in the summer, Ukrainian and Croatian manufacturers agreed to localize the production of such machines in Ukraine.
“Today we are strengthening our cooperation. The intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in demining launches a new stage of cooperation between governments, experts, demining specialists, and manufacturers of both countries,” said the First Deputy Prime Minister.
The agreement envisages cooperation in the following areas: non-technical and technical survey, demining, and territory clearance; public education on the risks associated with explosive ordnance; assistance to mine victims; and development of a regulatory framework and standard procedures in the field of mine action.
In addition, it provides for trainings for specialists, exchange of experience among experts and teachers in training demining specialists, transfer of expert knowledge and best practices; exchange of knowledge on the production of protective equipment, mine detection and demining equipment, and training and certification of mine-sniffing dogs.
During the meeting in Zagreb, the parties also discussed strengthening cooperation between the countries in the economic sphere and in the area of reconstruction.
Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said he does not intend to allow Ukrainian grain to enter the country’s domestic market, Politico reported on Tuesday.
“Croatia’s position and desire is that we are a transit country, not a country that will receive a huge amount of Ukrainian grain, which is cheaper than ours,” Plenkovic said.
According to him, imports of such products would lead to the fact that “our farmers would be in trouble.”
On September 15, the European Commission announced the termination of restrictive measures on the export of Ukrainian grain and other food products to the EU. Later, the authorities of Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia announced their own bans.
Agroprosperis agricultural group has supplied 17 thousand tons of agricultural products to Italy and Spain through the ports of Croatia since the beginning of 2023, the press service of the agricultural holding reported.
“In the first weeks of September of this year, Ukrainian and world media were abuzz with the news that Ukraine started exporting grain through the seaports of Croatia. “Agroprosperis is among the domestic exporters who were the first to use this route this year. It has become an important step in the expansion of Ukrainian agro-logistics against the background of the aggressor’s blockade of the grain corridor from the deep-water ports of the Black Sea,” the company’s website reported.
The agroholding noted that it was familiar with this export channel and had used it in previous years. During 2021-2022, the agroholding shipped 4,000 tons of GMO-free soybeans to Italy through Croatian ports for export. Since the beginning of the 2023-2024 marketing year, 6 thousand tons of corn were shipped to Italy and 11 thousand tons of wheat to Spain.
Currently, Agroprosperis is implementing a program of accumulation of wheat and soybeans for customers in Egypt and Europe.
According to the report, the structural subdivisions of the agroholding continue production of agricultural products and their export through alternative logistic routes. Agroprosperis noted the selfless work of its subdivisions in Sumy and Chernihiv regions, which grow, take care of crops and harvest crops under shelling.
In addition, the Agroprosperis Charitable Foundation is also active, providing direct assistance to 2,400 war victims totaling more than UAH 30 million.
Before the Russian military invasion, Agroprosperis had a land bank of 430 thousand hectares and total storage capacity of 800 thousand tons of crops. The holding grew and exported more than 2 million tons of grain and oilseeds per year.
“Agroprosperis operates through five divisions: Golden Sunrise (Agro), Bio Agro, Ray Agro, Latagro, New Agro Management, and provides financing to Ukrainian grain producers through Agroprosperis Bank.
The Croatian government at a meeting on Monday donated EUR1 million to the United Nations World Food Program (WFP) to help farmers and food producers from Ukraine resume operations in regions most affected by explosive remnants of war.
According to the WFP website on Monday, the agreement was signed by Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman and Matthew Hollingworth, acting UN Humanitarian Aid Coordinator in Ukraine, in the presence of Ukraine’s First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Yulia Sviridenko.
“The project aims to survey productive agricultural land for mines and other explosives, clear them where necessary and release them safely to restore food production and support the livelihoods of rural communities. The project will also support farmers in rehabilitating soils and restoring their agricultural production once the land has been declared safe,” the report said.
Work is already underway in Kharkiv Oblast and is planned for Mykolaiv and Kherson Oblasts. The project has been developed and is being implemented in close cooperation with the Ukrainian government as well as local authorities.
“The Government of Ukraine has identified demining as one of the five key priorities for the rapid recovery of the country as it relates to the safety of people, restoring fully functioning agricultural enterprises and establishing food supply chains… We are actively working with our international partners to launch the humanitarian demining market in Ukraine, procure specialized equipment, train deminers, certify private demining operators, establish a local
According to her, the funds raised under a joint memorandum with Croatia and UN partners “will be used to survey and clean up contaminated land, which potentially amounts to 174,000 square kilometers in Ukraine.”
“During our meeting, we emphasized the critical importance of demining for the resumption of economic and social activities in Ukraine. Realizing the urgent need to address mines and explosive remnants of war, we reiterate our commitment to work hand in hand to bring about positive change in the affected regions,” said Croatian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Gordoni Hirlićem-Radman.
Hollingworth, for his part, noted Croatia’s experience in conducting successful large-scale demining operations, which “makes it a recognized leader in humanitarian demining and an invaluable partner in helping to free up land for Ukrainian farmers who desperately want to resume work and feed their families and communities.”
Croatia will host the International Donor Conference on Humanitarian Demining in Ukraine on October 11 and 12 in Zagreb. The conference will provide a platform to mobilize additional international support and resources for demining initiatives in Ukraine.
The European Union (EU) and Ukraine need to find a solution that would allow Ukrainian farmers to work, exporting grain to the EU in the volumes they need, Croatian Minister of Agriculture Marija Vučković said at an online meeting with Ukrainian Minister of Agrarian Policy Mykola Solsky on Tuesday.
Vučković is confident that the restrictions on the export of Ukrainian agricultural products to Europe, which were introduced by the European Commission until June 5, should not be extended after this date, the press service of Ukraine’s Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food said.
Solsky, in turn, thanked his colleague for understanding. He also said that Croatia became one of the signatories of the letter of the European Commission sent by the relevant ministers of 14 states of the European Union. In this appeal, they expressed concern about the temporary ban on importing Ukrainian agricultural products to five states of the European Union.
Slovak Prime Minister Eduard Heger, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob have arrived in Kiev, where they will participate in a summit to mark the anniversary of the liberation of Buča. Slovak Prime Minister Heger arrived in Ukraine on Friday and will meet with President Vladimir Zelenski, the Slovakian news agency TASR reported.
Along with Heger, Slovak Defense Minister Jaroslav Nagy arrived in Ukraine. The time and place of the meeting are not disclosed in advance for security reasons.
According to Heger, Zelenski invited him to visit Ukraine in a telephone conversation after Slovakia approved the transfer of MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine.
For his part, Nagy is scheduled to meet with his Ukrainian counterpart Alexey Reznikov during the day.
In addition, Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic arrived in Kyiv on Friday morning. He is scheduled to meet with Zelensky, Prime Minister Denis Shmygal and Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Ruslan Stefanchuk. Also with the Croatian prime minister arrived Minister of Veterans Affairs Tomo Medved.
According to the Croatian government’s website, together with Zelenski, Heger, Golob and Moldovan President Maia Sandu, they will take part in a summit on “Bucha – Russian Responsibility for Crimes in Ukraine” in Kiev to mark the anniversary of the liberation of Bucha (Kiev region). A joint press conference will follow.
This is Plenkovic’s second visit to Ukraine since the Russian aggression began on February 24, 2022. Last May, he met with the Ukrainian leadership in Kiev and visited Irpen and Bucha.
The Slovenian newspaper Delo, for its part, reported on the arrival of Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob in Kiev on Friday. He also intends to meet with Zelenskyy.
For the Slovenian prime minister, this is his first visit to Ukraine since coming to power. His goal is to reaffirm his support for Ukraine, which has been a victim of Russian aggression since last February.
Golob will also be received by Shmygal and Stefančuk .