Raids continue at an astonishing pace in eastern Ukraine. During the month of April alone, 27 agricultural machines were stolen from Melitopol, valued at 5 million euros (pre-war 150 thousand people). Occupied by the Russian army since the beginning of March 2022, the city before the war ensured part of the Ukrainian grain production, one of the largest in Europe.
The loot the thieves collected include combine harvesters that cost $300,000 each, tractors, and planters…according to a witness he interviewed. CNNat least two distinct groups of soldiers would have happily served themselves in the banner of Agrotech, the retailer of American brand John Deere.
There are some devices
Some of the stolen kits have also been found since then, thanks to their built-in GPS tracker. Part of it is currently located in the neighboring villages of Melitopol. But the majority are concentrated more than 1,100 kilometers away, in Grozny, Chechnya.
In an amateur video, broadcast on Sunday 1Verse In May 2022 we were able to see a convoy of military transport trucks, topped with John Deere brand machines. The video was allegedly filmed in a village in Chechnya.
Ironically, since the looting, the harvesters haven’t moved. The thieves could not operate the machines with the lock remotely.
According to a local source who gave an interview to him CNNThey will actively seek to unlock the devices and, if that fails, can get a good price for their spare parts. Unrestricted, do these thefts portend a change in scale compared to the looting of goods (household appliances, high-tech) observed since the beginning of the Russian invasion?
Opportunistic theft or confiscation?
For some Ukrainian officials, they will no longer be opportunists, but they will mark the beginning of a generalized expropriation.
Russia wants to disrupt our country’s economy, President Volodymyr Zelensky said May 2. It is estimated that the loss of tens of millions of tons of grain could lead to a global food crisis. 74% of wheat produced in Ukraine is exported.
The Russian Navy has already closed the main coastal entrances to Ukraine on the Black and Azov seas, imposing a strict blockade. Ukraine must now rely on the help of its neighbors to continue exporting the rest of its production by sea.
At the end of April 2022, a ship carrying 71,000 tons of Ukrainian corn was to leave Constanta (Romania), according to BBC. The first since the start of the war. Ukraine’s Deputy Agriculture Minister Taras Vysotsky also accused Russia of stealing 1.5 million tons of grain from occupied Ukrainian lands.
In Melitopol, the occupier sometimes buys the grain at half price, or confiscates it from the peasants, according to a Ukrainian news site. 24TV.
Vegetables at competitive prices in the Crimea
In many markets in occupied Crimea, vegetables from the Kherson (southeast) region are sold at agricultural fairs, at prices much lower than local ones, according to Yuri Sobolevsky, First Deputy Chairman of the Kherson Regional Council, who said about him:
Burglary continues, in fairly large quantities.
If the economic impact of this plunder is still difficult to measure, its symbolism awakens old wounds.
Every November, Ukrainians commemorate the Holodomor, this great famine orchestrated by the USSR led by Joseph Stalin in 1932-33 which, through massive agricultural acquisitions and hunting down peasants, killed several million Ukrainians.