Ukraine guarantees insurance payouts for vessels damaged at its Danube ports

A local resident walks past a building damaged during Ukraine-Russia conflict in the besieged southern port city of Mariupol, Ukraine March 31, 2022. REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko

LVIV, Ukraine, April 1 (Reuters) - Ukraine, a major producer of grain, oilseeds and steel products, will guarantee insurance payments to cargo vessels damaged in hostilities on its stretch of the Danube, according to the government decision published on Friday.

Ukraine exports almost all its commodities through Black Sea ports now blocked due to the Russian invasion.

The Danube, the second-longest river in Europe, flows through eight countries from the mountains of western Germany to Ukraine and the Black Sea.

"We are talking about the possibility of fully-fledged work at only three Ukrainian sea ports: Reni, Izmail, Ust-Dunaysk. Their role takes precedence," the Ukrainian infrastructure ministry said on social media.

The government did not provide details of the insurance system, but instructed the infrastructure ministry to develop a plan.

Ukrainian agriculture analysts have said the country, which exported 43 million tonnes in the peace period of 2021/22 July-June season, could export only around 1 million tonnes of grain in the next three months, due to logistics difficulties.

Before the war, the government said the grain exports could reach 65 million tonnes this season.

Ukraine was the world's fourth-largest grain exporter in the 2020/21 season, International Grains Council data shows.

Russia sent troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24 in what it calls a "special military operation" to demilitarise the country. Western countries call it an unprovoked war of aggression.

Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Nick Macfie

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