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John Deere dealership, grain stocks in Ukraine plundered by Russian troops

Russia has decided to increase its own grain stocks by plundering. They plan to withdraw grain from the occupied territories of Ukraine. Deputies of the city of Krasnoyarsk in Siberia voted almost unanimously to take grain from the Kherson region because in many Russian regions, there is a catastrophic shortage of grain and vegetables as well. This shortage is caused by the Western sanctions imposed on Russia. The decision was immediately published on the Legislative Assembly of the Krasnoyarsk Territory website but was later removed. Authorities claim the website was hacked.

In the Kherson region, the occupiers devastated an elevator in the village of Novooleksiyivka and took all the grain to the occupied Crimea. A unit of the Russian army, seized the Agrospivruzhnost enterprise, which cultivates about 20,000 hectares in the Henichesk district.

The theft of food from the occupied territories is a violation of the 1949 Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War as well as War Crimes under Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

In the Svativ district of the Luhansk region, the “Luhansk Peoples Republic” (LPR) is forcing farmers to start sowing. The government of LPR is described as an occupying administration of the Russian Federation. Farmers are being promised fuel and lubricants free of charge, but then the harvest will be expropriated by the occupiers. Farmers will get only a small part of the harvest they grow. Agrarians of Svativskyi district do not support such a proposal, which is why the “LPR” is threatening to confiscate agricultural machinery, seeds, and imprison growers.

Beginning in early March, Russian marauders looted John Deere harvesters (S770 and S760 with headers), John Deere tractors (6195M), as well as Väderstad Tempo seed drills from the Melitopil site (Zaporizhzhia region) of the Dnipro-based company Agrotek. The company is the official dealer of John Deere in Ukraine. All equipment was transported to Chechmya, a Republic of Russia. However, the equipment has reportedly been rendered useless by a remote-locking system that prevented the thieves from turning the equipment on.

Russian looters also took 20 tons of lubricants. Together with the stolen farm machinery the loss for Agrotek is 1.5 million euros (approximately $1.6 million).

On March 15, five foreign ships (different flags and crews: mostly Turkish or Russian) left the port of Berdyansk (Zaporizhzhia region) on Azov sea, loaded with Ukrainian grain. Earlier, two Russian patrol ships with painted identification marks entered the port of Berdyansk.
On April 26, 2022, armed Russian military, threatening to use physical violence, looted a branch of one of the agricultural companies in the city of Kamenka-Dneprovskaya (Zaporizhzhia region). Marauders took out 61 tons of wheat and other property stolen from the enterprise on a GAZ-53 truck, which also was the property of the company.

On May 3, 2022, Serhiy Haidai, the head of the Luhansk Regional Military Administration, announced that Russian occupiers destroyed an elevator complex in Rubezhnoye, Luhansk region, which can store up to 30,000 tons of grain. Several Russian bombs were dropped on the Golden AGRO enterprise, completely destroying it. Satellite images clearly show the crater left after the projectile exploded.

Haidai also adds that at the elevator complex, built in 2020, there was a laboratory equipped with the latest technology including an express analyzer that produces accurate and fast analyses of grain, a powerful dryer, a separator, truck scales, and an automatic sampler. Haidai is confident the Kremlin intends to leave the region without food. “Russians want to organize the famine,” he said. “There have been cases of our grain being taken to Russia from the occupied cities.”

Earlier, Russians destroyed all food warehouses in Severodonetsk.

Iurii Mykhailov is an agricultural journalist in Ukraine. He is a contributor to Successful Farming.

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