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Bitter Harvest: Russia Gathers Grain in Occupied Ukraine

Ukraine has long been hailed as one of the world’s great breadbaskets. In 2021, the country accounted for 10% of global wheat exports in 2021, according to the United Nations.

Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February saw agriculture grind to a halt. As tensions rose in the Black Sea, a blockade of Russian ships disrupted global supply chains, sparking a surge in prices and fears of food shortages that will hit poorer countries hardest.

But as Moscow has increased its hold on southern and eastern Ukraine and its ports, Russia has begun exporting Ukrainian produce abroad to countries such as Syria — with the harvest carried out under the watchful eye of Russian troops.