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New report details Russia’s damage to Ukrainian crop storage

04/10/2022 – Food Security / Grain / Russia / Ukraine / Storage / Report

New report details Russia’s damage to Ukrainian crop storage

Russia’s military has damaged, destroyed or taken control of nearly 16 per cent of Ukraine’s grain storage facilities since the latest invasion began in February, a new analysis shows.

That translates to one-in-six facilities in Ukraine that store wheat, barley, sunflowers and other staples that typically would have fed a significant portion of the world prior to Russia’s latest invasion.

“If Ukrainian farmers cannot have enough storage to be able to plant their winter wheat, we could look at food shortages that have global implications,” warned Nathaniel Raymond, Executive Director of Yale’s Humanitarian Research Lab (HRL), speaking at the Foreign Press Center in Washington. 

Mr Raymond further noted that even minor damage to a grain silo can compromise crop storage.

The new report – ‘Ukraine’s Crop Storage Infrastructure: Post-Invasion Impact Assessment’ – is part of the Yale HRL’s efforts supporting the Conflict Observatory, which is documenting evidence of Russian-perpetrated war atrocities, including possible crimes in Ukraine.

Latest evidence of destruction

The finding that Russia’s war has weakened Ukraine’s crop storage capacity is the latest evidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s contributes to a global food crisis that threatens millions of people around the world.

Russia’s war has destroyed Ukrainian farms and stymied exports from Ukraine, one of the world’s major breadbaskets According to the World Food Programme, 345 million people face acute food insecurity worldwide and 50 million people in 45 countries are on the edge of famine.

Since February, the United States has provided over $5.7 billion in emergency food security assistance globally, including to African countries suffering from extreme hunger and malnutrition.

The new analysis of impacts to Ukraine’s agricultural facilities since the February 24 invasion found that:

• At least 75 grain storage facilities — roughly 5.36 per cent of Ukraine’s storage capacity – have been damaged or destroyed;

• 60 of the 75 damaged facilities, or 80 per cent, are near ports or critical railways;

• As of July, Russia and its aligned forces controlled approximately 10.7 per cent of Ukraine’s crop storage capacity.

The study’s authors said intentional or indiscriminate targeting of crop storage facilities may constitute a war crime under international law.

“The ramifications of Russia’s aggression reverberate far outside Europe, and now affect the health and wellbeing of tens of millions of people worldwide,” said State Department Spokesperson Ned Price, in a statement, going on to further note significant spikes in the cost of wheat.

“The United States will continue to firmly stand with Ukraine as it defends its freedom, for the sake of its own people and of people across the globe who rely on the harvests from Ukraine’s farmlands,” Price added.

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