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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

EU Waits Call for More Aid

As Russia faces its second poor grain harvest in two years, the European Union believes a new request for food aid is increasingly likely when this year's program ends, an EU diplomat in Moscow said.

"There have been no official negotiations," said Gilbert Dubois, charg? d'affaires at the EU delegation in Moscow and the chief EU negotiator with Russia on food aid this year.

But some private individuals on the Russian side were saying the EU should be prepared to receive a formal request at some stage given the forecasts from the statistics bureau in Russia, the weather and the locust invasion, he added Thursday.

"I think there will be no surprise on our side if an official from the Russian government started to say Russia will need more food aid during the coming winter."

Gus Schumacher, undersecretary at the U.S. Agriculture Department, said in Washington on Wednesday that the USDA would send a team to Russia this month to assess if Russia would need U.S. food aid next year.

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow has already said it expects another request for aid.

Meanwhile, Ukraine cut its 1999 grain harvest forecast Thursday and analysts said the government might find itself forced to import food grain for the first time since the former Soviet republic gained independence in 1991.

Ukraine's Agriculture Ministry has cut its forecast to 28 million metric tons from 30 million due to bad weather and a critical fuel shortage.