Russian attacks 'deliberately target' Ukrainian fields, farms and food storage
Known as the "breadbasket of Europe", Ukraine depends greatly on its agricultural production and exports. But "deliberate" Russian attacks on dairy farms, silos and farming facilities are serving to further curtail the country's ability to feed its people and advance its economy.
Ukraine's agricultural sector has already been severely impacted by the Russian offensive. Farmers are more likely to be on the frontlines than out in the fields, farmland has been hit by shelling, and Russian blockades have kept grain exports from leaving ports.
But in addition to these indirect consequences, Ukraine's agricultural capacities have also been the target of directed attacks by the Russian army.
'There's nothing that's been left untouched from this war'
Caitlin Welsh, a food security expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, spoke to the FRANCE 24 Observers team.
What we're seeing are direct targets on Ukraine's means of agricultural productivity, in all aspects – from fields where we see Russia having planted landmines, to dairy sheds, where they are attacking sheds and killing cattle, to silos where grain is stored, to railroads, where grains are transported from farms to markets, all aspects. There's nothing that's been left untouched from this war.
The security camera footage shown above captured the moment that a rocket struck a grain elevator near Synelnykove in the Dnipropetrovsk region of Ukraine.
US officials have reported documenting at least six grain storage facilities like this one damaged by Russian attacks as of late March.
Welsh explained that attacks like this one reveal Russia's motives.
Agricultural producers would bring their products to be stored here, and then trucks would come to gather this product for export. And this is an instance where we saw complete destruction of some aspects of this warehouse facility. There are homes around this warehouse facility that were left virtually untouched, which indicates to us that Russia is directly targeting these places and making a deliberate attack to curtail Ukraine's agriculture sector.
Other reports indicate that Russian troops have been stealing grain and farming equipment and shipping it to Russian territories.
International officials worry that these attacks may have significant impacts on food security, both in Ukraine and around the world.