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Russia’s ‘weaponisation’ of Ukrainian grain ‘highly likely’ a war crime



“We saw a systematic approach to the way that food was being weaponised within the conflict,” mentioned Catriona Murdoch, the lead of the GRC’s Starvation Mobile Justice Team.

“We’ve not seen anything as sophisticated as this in terms of the ability to transfer millions of tons of grain, and reroute that through occupied areas into Russia and the way that they have wielded that in terms of political pressure.” 

An estimated $1 billion value of grain has been pillaged from Ukraine, the report mentioned.

The report analysed open sources comprising data together with pictures, movies, public statements by officers, and different digital knowledge. 

It discovered that upon invasion, Russia seized grain amenities from Ukrainian companies and personal farmers, consolidating management by way of the Russian-affiliated civilian administration of these amenities.

The Kremlin then invested in networks to move the grain, together with roads, rail and ports. 

Global ‘havoc’ on meals provides

The report discovered that three 170-metre grain provider ships have been pre-purchased by a Russian defence contractor earlier than the war, which GRC mentioned speaks to pre-planning “on an unprecedented scale”. 

Ms Murdoch mentioned that it was half of a “concerted plan” to each weaken the livelihoods of many Ukrainians and place “political pressure” on world leaders in relation to meals shortages in susceptible nations, like these within the Horn of Africa. 

Russian blockades of Black Sea ports have left world provides insecure, lowering Ukraine’s skill to export grain and foodstuff to these most susceptible. 

The Black Sea Grain Initiative marked an try to reintroduce exports from Ukraine to the worldwide market, nevertheless it expired in July 2023 after Russia unilaterally refused to increase its time period. 

“It has given Russia a real trump card in terms of being able to bring people to the negotiating table,” Ms Murdoch mentioned, explaining the hyperlink to the Black Sea initiative. 



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