(QHA) -

Ukraine questions the legality of grain crop exports from Crimea questioning their legal basis, as the region announced export deals from Crimea earlier on Thursday to Saudi Arabia and Cyprus.

“How they managed to export I don’t know, because it’s a sovereign territory of Ukraine,” - Ukraine’s news agency UNIAN quoted Agriculture Minister Ihor Shvaika as saying.

“One can’t do it without our phytosanitary certificates”- he stressed.

Crimea has supplied 22,648 tonnes of barley to Saudi Arabia and 4,603 tonnes of barley to Cyprus for the period starting from June 23, Russian agricultural watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor announced.

Crimea, which has several ports, is ready to export 400,000 to 500,000 tonnes of grain this year, or about half its expected harvest, the regional farm ministry has said.

The region was annexed by Russia in May, following referendum on its status.