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Ukraine's Zelenskiy welcomes EU lifting grain export ban, warns neighbours

FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy attends European leaders summit in Brussels

(Reuters) - Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy welcomed the EU's decision not to further extend the ban on Kyiv's grain exports, but said his government would react "in civilised fashion" if EU member states broke EU rules.

"This is an example of true unity and trust between Ukraine and the EU," Zelenskiy wrote on the Telegram messaging app. "Europe always wins when rules and agreements are implemented."

But immediately after the EU ruling was announced, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary said they would implement their own restrictions on Ukrainian grain imports.

Zelenskiy, speaking in his nightly video message, said Ukraine needed support from its neighbours during the war against Russia and it was important for European unity "to work on a bilateral level with our neighbours".

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"And if the decisions of our neighbours are not neighbourly, Ukraine will respond in a civilised manner."

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal also welcomed the EU move as "legal and fair" and bound to help uphold world food security.

"We appeal to individual EU member-states to refrain from unlawful, unilateral restrictions on Ukrainian agricultural goods, he wrote on Telegram. "Such restrictions could become the object of arbitration with the World Trade Organisation."

Shmyhal said Ukraine was ready to work with the Commission and neighbouring states and expressed confidence that "we will come up with a common vision and mutually beneficial approaches".

(Reporting by Yuliia Dysa and Ron Popeski; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Sandra Maler)