War in Ukraine: Grain farmers’ anxiety grows as harvest begins under Russian blockade

Ukrainian gold fields are ready to be harvested, but as the Russian blockade of the Black Sea continues, 22 million tons of last year’s harvest still cannot reach their destination.

Nicknamed the breadbasket of the world, the former Soviet republic supplies grain to North Africa, Asia and Europe.

However, the invasion is fueling a global food crisis and farmers are under pressure.

“The price we get for our grain is not good.. The warehouses refuse to accept it. The farmers are forced to leave them. The front line is not far from here. And at any moment it can all be over from the bombing,” said Yuri Vakulenkov, owner of the farm economy “Ukraine”.

Farm workers put their lives in danger on a daily basis and sometimes stumble upon warheads, such as rockets, in the fields.

Oleksandr Chubuk’s warehouses are filled with last year’s products. In this harvest, he expects to collect 500 tons of grain, but for the first time he has nowhere to put it.

“Our Ukrainian grain cannot enter the international market now, because the ports are not working. The most important was the sea route. Now the demand for grain has decreased. Now some new logistics routes through Europe are being developed. amount of grain,” he said.

Russia ‘should release grain’, US says

On Friday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken challenged his Russian counterpart at the closed-door G20 talks in Bali, demanding that Moscow allow grain shipments from Ukraine.

“To our Russian colleagues: Ukraine is not your country. Her seed is not your seed. Why are you blocking ports? You have to release the grain,” Blinken told Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, whom the Western official refused to meet separately.

Blinken told the Russian delegation about US financial assistance to address the global food shortage caused by the war in Ukraine, one of the world’s largest grain exporters.

“Russia is the source of the problem, the US is focused on solutions,” he said, according to a Western official.

Ukraine has seen its production blocked by Moscow’s military offensive, driving prices up and hitting poor countries especially hard.

Moscow says it will allow Ukrainian food ships to sail if the Ukrainian army clears its ports, but Kyiv, which fears for the safety of its Black Sea coast, refuses to take this into account.

The port of Constanta in Romania helps the war-torn country to export all the important grains. Ukraine also uses, as an alternative, three ports on the Danube River and 12 border crossings with Europe.

Meanwhile, Turkey says it is working with the UN, Kyiv and Moscow to find a solution, including the creation of safe corridors in the Black Sea.