About two million metric tons of grain are being harvested from the fields in the southern Zaporizhzhia region controlled by Russian forces, according to Yevgeniy Balitsky, military head of the Russian-occupied areas of Zaporizhzhia.
“A harvesting campaign is underway in the region,” Balitsky said on Tuesday on his Telegram channel, adding that this year’s harvest from the region is expected to overtake last year’s crop of 1.5 million tons.
Balitsky added that 70% of last year’s grain harvest from the Russian-controlled areas of Zaporizhzhia has already been sold.
“The grain supply is facilitated by close cooperation with the Crimean authorities, who ensured unimpeded passage through customs and border checkpoints,” Balitsky said, adding that grain producers “have no limitations” in choosing where to sell their grain.
However, Ivan Fedorov, the exiled mayor of Melitopol in the Zaporizhzhia region, has previously warned about severe restrictions imposed by the military on where producers can sell their grain and at what price.
According to Fedorov, grain producers can only sell to “authorized” individuals, for half the usual price.
“The authorized entrepreneur valued a ton of grain at just little over $50. This is half the cost of a ton of grain. In autumn, no one will sow the fields under such conditions,” Fedorov said on Friday.
Ukraine has accused Russia of appropriating last year’s grain supply from the occupied territories in the country’s south. In addition, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Tuesday he expects 60 million metric tons of Ukrainian grain to be "blocked” from reaching consumers in the autumn due to the ongoing was.