Zelenskiy Says Ukraine’s Harvest Could be Half Its Usual Amount Due to Russian Invasion

A crater left by the Russian rocket in a wheat field in the Dnipropetrovsk region, Ukraine. Photograph: Efrem Lukatsky/AP

Volodymyr Zelenskiy has said Ukraine’s harvest this year could be half its usual amount because of the Russian invasion, in comments likely to intensify fears of global hunger.

“Ukrainian harvest this year is under the threat to be twice less,” the Ukrainian president wrote on Twitter in English. His country’s main goal, Zelenskiy said, was to prevent a global food crisis caused by the Russian invasion.

His comments came as it emerged that the owner of one of Ukraine’s largest agricultural companies had been killed in the shelling of the strategically important southern city of Mykolaiv, near the Black Sea.

Before the invasion, Ukraine was known as the breadbasket of Europe, a key supplier for countries in north Africa, the Middle East and Asia. When Russia invaded it blockaded Ukraine’s ports, stoking a worldwide grain shortage that has caused the UN to warn of looming hunger catastrophe.

In 2021 Ukraine produced 80m metric tonnes of grain, including wheat, corn and barley, enough to feed 400 million people for six months, according to a video tweeted by Zelenskiy. This year Ukraine is on course to harvest and ship less than half of that amount, the video said.

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SOURCE: The Guardian, Jennifer Rankin