A Ukrainian serviceman stands on a burning wheat field near a frontline on a border between Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, Ukraine July 17, 2022. REUTERS/Dmytro Smolienko/File Photo

Russian forces are allegedly burning wheat crops

Reports earlier this summer indicated that Russia was setting fire to its own wheat fields and destroying processing plants after heavy sanctions. Videos of burning Ukrainian wheat fields went viral on social media in July, with Ukrainian forces accusing the Russian government of sabotaging their agricultural industry.

Rumors circulated by Russian media outlets last month pointed out that this was a conspiracy hatched by Ukrainian forces to cause a global famine. Forbes estimated that around 350,000 hectares of fields were burned by Russian forces this summer.

The fires have resulted in serious damage to the Ukrainian ecosystem and can have long-term environmental impacts as a consequence of pollution.

Authorities in Ukraine claim that Russia purposefully destroyed the wheat harvests that farmers were able to cultivate this year. Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia, insists that Moscow is prepared to assist Ukrainian grain shipments across the Black Sea despite a potential worldwide food catastrophe. However, the Ukrainian farmers paint a completely different picture.

“Look you can still see the rockets, one over there, two, three, four,” he said, pointing to ordnance in his burned fields. “We’ve lost around 500 tonnes [of grain]. At last year’s prices that’s about 130,000 euros.”

Viktor Hubanet, Ukrainian Farmer

These new accusations and insider information are in line with previous reports of crop burning. The Kremlin still maintains that these fires are a result of Ukrainian aggression, despite satellite images that show the burnt fields in close proximity to Russian bases.

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