Ukraine accuses Russia of stealing grain from the occupied zone

Russian soldiers accused of stealing 61 tonnes of wheat

April 29, 2022

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Ukraine on Thursday accused Russia of stealing grain from the territory it occupies, an act it says has increased the threat to global food security posed by disruptions to spring plantings and the blockage of Ukrainian ports during the war, Reuters reported.

Asked about the allegations, the Kremlin said it had no information about it.

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said in a written statement that it “strongly condemns the criminal actions of the Russian Federation in the so-called expropriation of crops from farmers in the Kherson region” in southern Ukraine. .

He gave no further details of the alleged grain theft in the Kherson region, whose main town has been occupied by Russian forces since the first days of the Russian invasion on February 24.

“The looting of grain from the Kherson region, as well as the blocking of shipments from Ukrainian ports and the exploitation of shipping lanes, threaten global food security,” he said.

“We demand that Russia stop the illegal theft of grain, unblock Ukrainian ports, restore freedom of navigation and allow the passage of merchant ships.”

Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office said in a separate statement that it had opened a criminal investigation into allegations that Russian soldiers, threatening violence, took away 61 tonnes of wheat from an agricultural company in the region on April 26. from Zaporizhzhia, in southern Ukraine.

Reuters was unable to immediately verify the claim.

Asked by Reuters if the Kremlin had any information on Ukraine’s accusations, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov replied via messaging app Telegram: “No. We don’t know where this information comes from. “.

According to data from the International Grains Council, Ukraine was the world’s fourth largest grain exporter in the 2020/21 season, selling 44.7 million tonnes abroad. The volume of exports has fallen sharply since the Russian invasion.

“Through its illegal actions, Russia is robbing not only Ukraine but also consumers abroad. The United Nations estimates that around 1.7 billion people could face poverty and hunger due to disruptions food as a result of a full-scale war waged by Russia against Ukraine,” the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said.

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