Russia sets fire to Ukraine’s grain fields: officials

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine rages on, fires are eating into Ukraine’s grain harvest, officials say.

As Russias invasion of Ukraine rages on, fires are eating into Ukraines grain harvest, news outlets reported this week.

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine rages on, fires are eating into Ukraine’s grain harvest, news outlets reported this week. PAP/EPA/Sergei Ilnitsky

The war’s frontlines are running across some of the rich Ukrainian farmland; and Russia is blockading the Black Sea ports. 

As a result, Ukraine has been finding it tough to collect its harvest and export it to the world. 

Fires

To make matters worse, the war-torn country’s fields of grain have been hit by fast-spreading fires this summer, Polish state news agency PAP reported on Sunday. 

One Ukrainian farmer, Pavlo Serhienko, told the US broadcaster CNN: „For the last four days, all our knees are covered in blood, we are extinguishing [fires in] the fields. They [the Russians] especially hit the fields — fields with wheat and barley — every day.”

He said that in the past few days he had lost 30 hectares of wheat and 55 hectares of barley. 

The farmer added: „those 1,200 hectares I can’t reach [because they’re on the frontline] are also burning. But what can I do? I won’t even go there.”

Deliberate attacks

Ukrainian officials, too, are certain that Russia is destroying their country’s agricultural wealth as a deliberate strategy. 

Last week, police in the southern Kherson Oblast, one of Ukraine’s most productive farming areas, launched a criminal investigation into „the purposeful destruction” of crops by the Russian forces.

Ukrainian police accused the Russian army of „shelling agricultural land with incendiary shells.”

It said: “Large-scale fires occur every day, hundreds of hectares of wheat, barley and other grain crops have already burned.”

„In order to save at least part of the harvest, the villagers work on machinery next to a wall of fire,” the police stated.

‘Cynical strategy’

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said last week that the Kremlin was carrying out “a well-thought out and cynical strategy” to ruin Ukrainian agriculture.  

Kuleba went on to state: „The Russian naval blockade of Ukrainian ports has already shredded global chains of food supply. Adding insult to injury, Russia steals Ukrainian grain and bombs Ukrainian granaries.”

Ukraine is one of the world’s top exporters of key agricultural products, such as wheat, barley and maize, according to experts. 

Before the war, many African countries, for instance, based their food policies on deliveries from Ukraine.

Last month, the United Nations warned that the number of people suffering from acute hunger could rise by 47 million worldwide if the war in Ukraine continued.

Sunday is day 144 of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

(pm)

Source: PAP, edition.cnn.com

Radio Poland

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