Ukraine Official Says $4.25 Billion of Grain Stolen by Russia

REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/Illustration
A Russian one rouble coin is seen next to a U.S. one dollar banknote in this picture illustration taken April 5, 2022.

KYIV (Jiji Press) — Russia has stolen up to $4.25 billion in grain from Ukrainian territory since its February 2022 invasion, Taras Vysotskyi, Ukraine’s acting minister of agrarian policy and food, said in a recent interview with Jiji Press.

The amount of grain stolen by Russia from occupied Ukrainian territory “can be up to 17 million tons,” Vysotskyi said.

The Russian military occupies 6.2 million hectares of farmland in eastern and southern Ukraine, or 19% of the country’s total, Vysotskyi said.

The Russian military is believed to be exporting stolen grain to regions such as Africa and the Middle East as “Russian-made.”

Ukraine is a major exporter of wheat and corns. Agricultural products account for about 60% of Ukraine’s exports.

Vysotskyi said it is important to keep shipping through the Black Sea safe to ensure food security.

He pinned high hopes on Japanese technologies to remove land mines from Ukrainian farmland. The removal will take “tens of years,” he said.

The Ukrainian government estimates that 17.4 million hectares of Ukrainian land, or about 30% of the country’s total, are mined. This year, 512,000 hectares of farmland are planned to be demined.

Japanese large mine-clearing machines are scheduled to be delivered to Ukraine in July as part of Tokyo’s support for demining efforts in the country.

Vysotskyi said Japanese experience is “very necessary” and “very valuable” for Ukraine.

He called on Japan to lift a ban on imports of Ukrainian chickens, which was imposed following a bird flu outbreak in Ukraine, at an early date. Ukraine has sent a formal letter to Japan demanding the removal of the ban, he said.