Russia stole grain from Ukraine worth $1 billion – analysis of NASA data

Based on NASA Harvest research, Russia has looted the Ukrainian regions it has captured, stealing a wheat crop worth almost $1 billion.

According to Bloomberg’s analysis based on the data from NASA’s food security and agriculture program, Russia removed all the wheat harvested in the regions of Ukraine that were seized. 

The study maps the areas where crops have been harvested or not harvested using a machine-learning technique that looks for texture and color changes on NASA satellite photos.

Russian invaders seized the grain in captured territories

Up to six million tons of wheat in Ukraine, or around 88% of the winter crops seeded in the Russian-occupied parts of Ukraine, have been confiscated by the Russian invaders. Most unharvested lands are found near the front line, where fierce fighting occurs.

Source: NASA

On the territory the Russian Federation has captured and annexed, almost a fifth of the wheat produced in Ukraine is grown. Only the Ukrainian wheat crop is estimated in the study; other crops or foods kept in storage facilities on Ukrainian territory under occupation are left out.

Stolen Ukrainian grain possibly shipped to Libya and Iran

The grain from stolen Ukraine is being shipped by Russian ships to various nations, including Iran and Libya. Due to the shippers’ inclination to hide the provenance of their cargo, it is challenging to quantify the amounts of the stolen wheat crop.

Russia achieved sanctions exemption for its bank using the grain deal

In October, we published our analysis, ‘New facts about how Russia steals Ukrainian grain,’ unveiling the routes used by Russians to ship stolen Ukrainian grain. 

According to NASA Harvest data, Ukrainian producers harvested 26.6 million tons of wheat in 2022. According to Korespondent, as of 2 December 2022, Ukraine had exported 18.08 tons of its wheat crop.

Check out our article Russia used Grain deal to get sanction exemptions for its bank, to find out the benefits Moscow brokered for its participation in the grain deal.

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