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Russian occupying authorities in Berdiansk, Zaporizhzhia Oblast, are loading stolen Ukrainian grain onto Russian cargo ships to export it, the General Staff of Ukraine’s Armed Forces reported on April 24.
“The Russian occupiers continue to rob the civilian population of Ukraine, appropriating the grain harvest,” the General Staff wrote.
Earlier, the Center for Journalistic Investigations reported, citing local Telegram channels, that a Russian vessel had been loaded with stolen grain for the second time in a week at the port of occupied Berdiansk, located on the Azov Sea coast.
According to Ivan Fedorov, the exiled mayor of Melitopol, the move is part of Moscow’s plan to export one million tons of stolen Ukrainian grain to Russia by sea.
On March 16, Fedorov reported the alleged plan, citing the top Russian proxy in the occupied parts of Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Yevhen Balytskyi.
Fedorov, who is now in Ukrainian-controlled territory and reports based on sources in the occupied territories, said that Ukrainian agrarians were forced to cooperate with Moscow-installed proxies.
“Grain is bought at prices three times lower than market prices or simply confiscated,” he added.
Berdiansk and Melitopol in Ukraine’s southeastern Zaporizhzhia Oblast have been under Russian occupation since February 2022.