EU grains closed mostly higher, helped by a stronger US market as Chicago May 14 wheat rose close to last weeks highs - the best levels for the contract since last June and the highest for a front month in almost a year.The day closed with May 14 London wheat up GBP1.50/tonne at GBP169.75/tonne, whilst new crop Nov 14 was GBP1.55/tonne firmer at GBP161.55/tonne. May 14 Paris wheat closed EUR3.00/tonne higher at EUR213.75/tonne, Jun 14 Paris corn was up EUR0.50/tonne to EUR186.500tonne and May 14 Paris rapeseed rose EUR3.25/tonne to EUR404.50/tonne.Tensions between Ukraine and Russia have far from eased over the weekend, as Ukraine's interim President Olexander Turchynov ordered the withdrawal of armed forces from Crimea for the safety of the military and their families under "the pressure and aggression of the Russian army's occupying forces."With Crimea now under Russian control, the market is wondering what will happen to the eastern Ukraine ports of Mariupol and Berdyansk, which need "to negotiate the narrow Kerch Strait (now under the control of Moscow) between Russia and Crimea to reach Ukraine's grain export buyers, largely in the Middle East and North Africa," said Agrimoney.For now, grain exports from Ukraine continue at a pace. In fact the pace has picked up in recent weeks, with almost 800 TMT shipped out via it's sea ports alone last week, up from just over 700 TMT the previous week. Last week's total included 655 TMT of corn and 138 TMT of wheat.Has this, I wonder, got anything to do with Ukraine exporters rushing to get shipments out (and turn inventories into dollars) before/in case it transpires that Moscow's ambitions include a larger slice of the cake than Crimea?Russian grain exports meanwhile for the Mar 1-19 period totalled 954 TMT, including 503 TMT of wheat, 390 TMT of corn and 53 TMT of barley.Russia's exports for the 2013/14 campaign so far now total 19.786 MMT, a 40.8% rise on a year previously. That includes 14.574 MMT of wheat, 2.063 MMT of corn and 2.902 MMT of barley.Closer to home, the EU Commission's MARS unit said that "Crops are advanced in western and central Europe as the mild weather continued in March, and prospects for the new season are generally promising.Excessive wetness was noted across the winter in "northern Italy, major parts of the British Isles and southeastern France, but a dry period since the beginning of March improved the situation," they said."By contrast, the Czech Republic, southeastern Germany, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Turkey experienced one of the driest winter seasons on record. These regions will now need some rain to ensure that soil moisture levels are not depleted too quickly as the water requirements of winter crops increase, and to ensure the emergence of spring crops," they added.In their first look at yields for 2014, they forecast the average EU-28 all wheat yield at 5.47 MT/ha, down 1.8% from last year's 5.57 MT/ha, but 2.5% above the 5-year average. Wheat yields in the UK were estimated at 7.74 MT/ha, up 4.9% on last year's 7.38 MT/ha and 3.6% above the 5-year average.Barley yields (both classes) across Europe were forecast averaging 4.59 MT/ha, a 5% decline on last year, but 2.3% above average. The average barley yield in the UK was estimated at 5.69 MT/ha versus 5.85 MT/ha last year and 5.72 MT/ha for the 5-year average.EU-28 corn yields are seen averaging 7.03 MT/ha, up 6.3% on last year and 2.9% above the 5-year average. OSR yields were forecast to average 3.13 MT/ha, versus 3.09 MT/ha last year and 3.05 MT/ha on average. The UK OSR yield was estimated at 3.52 MT/ha, 18.3% up on last year and 3.3% above the 5-year average.