Ukrainian officials on Saturday accused Russian forces of seizing grain in contested regions of Ukraine as fears of a looming food security crisis linger amid the ongoing war.
Together, Russia and Ukraine account for nearly a third of the world’s wheat exports, and western officials fear exports could fall precipitously below pre-invasion levels.
“Today, there are confirmed facts that several hundred thousand tons of grain in total were taken out of the Zaporizhzhia, Kherson, Donetsk and Luhansk regions,” Ukraine’s Deputy Agriculture Minister Taras Vysotsky told Ukrainian television on Saturday.
With a global economy already battered by pandemic-related supply chain constraints, the war in Ukraine has led to even sharper increases in food costs stemming from disruptions in wheat and fertilizer export markets.
In March, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) projected that wheat exports from the two countries will fall by 7 million tons or 12% below pre-invasion projections. As a result, wheat prices have surged globally, up 62% from January through late March, according to the Atlantic Council.
— This story includes wire reports.