KIEV, March 5 Foreign trading houses have not resumed concluding new grain exports contracts due to continued tensions between Ukraine and Russia, Ukraine's Agriculture Minister Ihor Shvaika said on Wednesday.
"They are still waiting and there are no new contracts," Shvaika told Reuters.
Ukraine said on Wednesday it hoped the crisis in the Crimea region, where Russian forces have taken over buildings and military installations, could soon be resolved through dialogue.
Political instability and violence had caused some traders in Ukraine, the world's third-biggest maize exporter, to hold back from agreeing new contracts, while Russian maize export prices have been rising for two weeks.
Ukrainian grain lobby UAC said that traders were continuing grain exports from terminals in Crimea despite tensions.
UAC said in a statement 45,000 tonnes of Ukrainian maize had been sent from terminals in Sevastopol to Italy and Spain in the last two days.
But the lobby said that it expected a decrease in shipments in the near future.
Ukraine, a leading grain seller, said this week it had exported around 25 million tonnes of grain so far this season and planned to ship an additional 8.7 million tonnes in the remaining four months of this season which runs from July to June. (Reporting By Pavel Polityuk; editing by Keiron Henderson)