Russians steal Ukraine grain and farm machinery

  • Russian soldiers have been accused of stealing several hundred thousand tonnes of grain and millions of dollars’ worth of farm machinery from Ukraine

Grain trucks have been filmed taking grain across the border while other footage shows expensive stolen Ukrainian farm machinery loaded onto Russian trucks. Some of the stolen farm machinery has been traced to farms as far away as in Chechnya.

Ukraine’s deputy agriculture minister, Taras Vysotskiy, said: “There are confirmed facts that several hundred thousand tons of grain in total were taken out of the Zaporizhzhya, Kherson, Donetsk, and Luhansk regions.”

Russian forces have been deliberately targeting Ukrainian farms with bombs destroying farm infrastructure, farm machinery and killing livestock. The most recent case is a grain elevator in the Dnipropetrovsk region that was attacked by the Russians where a warehouse was totally destroyed.

With the forced closure of ports that normally exported grain from Ukraine, the price of food around the world has steadily increased.

However, Ukrainian farmers are outraged that the Russians are stealing their grain and machinery for themselves and sending it across the border.

Ukrainian Agriculture Minister Mykola Solskiy said grain theft had increased in the last two weeks in the occupied regions.

He said: “I personally hear this from many silo owners in the occupied territory. This is outright robbery. And this is happening everywhere in occupied territory.

“There will soon be a wheat harvest in the south. But farmers in this situation may well say ‘here are the keys to the tractor, go collect it yourself, if you want it,” he said.

Kremlin officials have denied Ukraine’s allegations, saying it did not know where the information was coming from.

Meanwhile, Russian troops in the occupied city of Melitopol have stolen all the equipment from a farm machinery dealership there and have reportedly shipped it to Chechnya.

The thieves targeted high end machinery at the John Deere dealership including combines and tractors worth over $5million. However, the machines had been locked remotely and were of no use to those trying to access them.

Two combine harvesters, a tractor and a seeder had been taken first but everything else was removed over a few weeks. In all 27 pieces of farm machinery had been stolen, and due to their onboard GPS technology, was last tracked to the village of Zakhan Yurt in Chechnya.

Sources say some Russian technology experts are trying to bypass the technology to allow the machines to operate.

On other farms the Russians are forcing the staff to work for them. Kherson farmer Albert Cherepakha harvests 20,000 hectares per year. He said: “Groups of armed Chechens, calling themselves Kadyrovites, entered my business units in the Genichesk district on April 11-12.

“We have bases in the villages of Chongar, Chervonoye, Pavlovka. The gunmen said that from now on the company’s property belongs to them. The invaders are now running the production processes at the farm and commanded my workers to start sowing, to prepare an application for the necessary inputs. Then they started to take out and sell goods stored in stocks,” he said.