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Ukraine residents run for shelter; farmers threatened by war impacts

Shipping countries shut down inbound/outbound business in Ukraine.

As Russia pounds Ukraine’s capital Friday, rushing tankers and soldiers toward toppling the government in Kyiv (Kiev), civilians are scattering for shelter, companies are shutting down, and public transportation is scarce.

Iurii Mykhailov, a Kyiv resident and Successful Farming contributor, is reporting from inside the lines of war.

On Friday morning in the U.S., mid-afternoon in Ukraine, Mykhailov says the bombing is sending fellow citizens into shelter.

“Yes, I have heard bombing. Yesterday morning, I heard seven sounds of explosion. Today – only one or two,” Mykhailov says.

READ MORE: Inside Ukraine as war rages

With reports indicating of Russian shelling somewhere 15 miles northwest of Kyiv, the fighting is mostly far away from Mykhailov’s midtown apartment.

“At the moment, all public transportation in Kyiv is not functioning. The metro stations on the right bank of the Dnipro river are used as shelters.

“The metro stations on the left bank (where I live) are useless as shelters because the metro line is not underground,” he says.

Mykhailov added, “Most of the time, I spend in my apartment. This is advised by authorities to stay home and go out only for food or drugs. In case of the alarm, I go out to the nearest park because it was advised not to use cellars in apartment buildings which are prompt to collapse in case of direct hit. I try to be calm since there is very little I can change. I watch the news.”

Kyiv view
Mykhailov's apartment view in Kyiv

Nobody knows how long the defense of Kyiv will last, he says. 

“It may be any moment or a long time. It seems Kyiv is well fortified and young citizens are anxious to fight,” Mykhailov says.

READ MORE: Vilsack: Fertilizer prices are biggest worry for farmers after Russian invasion.

Impacts on Agriculture

News reports indicate that Russia and Ukraine account for 29% of global wheat exports, 19% of world corn exports, and 80% of world sunflower oil exports.

On Friday, CMA CGM Group, a France-based worldwide shipping group, has decided to suspend all vessel calls to Ukraine from February 24 until further notice.

The same decision was made by Maersk. The company canceled all ship calls and closed its office in Ukraine, according to Mykhailov.

The global agricultural commodity trader Cargill Inc. said Thursday the ocean-going vessel it had chartered was “hit by a shell” in the Black Sea, but the vessel retained its seaworthiness and the crew remained safe, Mykhailov reported.

Egypt, the world’s largest importer of wheat, canceled an international procurement tender for wheat Friday. Egypt has not received offers of either Russian or Ukrainian wheat, according to Mykhailov.

On Friday, the global agricultural commodity trader Bunge Ltd. said it closed the company’s offices in Ukraine and suspended operations at the port of Mykolaiv, the Ukraine source reported. Bunge competitor Archer-Daniels Midland Co (ADM) said its facilities in Ukraine, including a terminal in Odessa, are not operating.

Corn Planting Threatened

The war between Russia and Ukraine will impact the upcoming spring planting season.

“In two-three weeks farmers could start the planting season in Ukraine. But the Russian invasion changed everything. Because of military hostilities there are going to be big shortages of fuel and fertilizers. There certainly will be a lack of loans. There even may be a shortage of machine operators because of military losses etc.,” Mykhailov says.

As for Ukraine’s citizens, those who have small land plots can grow vegetables and such. 

“The food in cities may be scarce,” he says.


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