On the eve of the anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, members of the Ukrainian Agri Council brought agricultural machinery destroyed by the Russians to the Krakivets-Korczowa checkpoint so that Polish protesters could see the consequences of Russia’s war in Ukraine with their own eyes.
“Our goal is to show our Polish colleagues the circumstances in which we have been working for two years. The machinery of our farmers, which we brought from different regions of Ukraine, was destroyed by the Russian invaders. It was blown up in Ukrainian fields, shelled by artillery, and burned by the occupiers,” said Andriy Dykun, head of the Ukrainian Agri Council. “Behind every combine or tractor there is a tragic history of the farm, sometimes with human losses. We pay a very high price for each grain.”
Over the two years of war, which began Feb. 24, 2022, the total cost of destroyed agricultural machinery is $5.8 billion. About 181 thousand units of agricultural machinery and equipment have been partially or completely damaged. According to the latest estimates of the World Bank, the total losses and damages of the Ukrainian agricultural sector over the two years of war have increased to $80 billion. This is in addition to the daily losses caused by the blockade of the Ukrainian-Polish border.
According to the members of the UAC, Polish colleagues should consider facts, not Russian propaganda, because Poland loses more than Ukraine from the border blockade. In the first year of the war alone, Polish exports to Ukraine almost reached $10 billion for the first time, and in 2023 they amounted to $6.6 billion. These results are significantly higher than Ukraine’s exports to Poland.
However, due to the blockade of the border, both countries are now losing millions of dollars, which in the case of Ukraine is critical for the survival of small and medium-sized farmers, who make up 65 percent of the entire agricultural sector.
“We understand that the situation of Polish farmers is difficult, but it is not Ukraine’s fault. There is an overproduction of grain on the world markets. In the EU alone, the surplus of wheat is 36 million tons, and since last year’s harvest, it has fallen in price by 25 percent,” said the head of the UAC. “This is compounded by a huge oversupply from Russia. According to the estimates of Polish colleagues, Russian grain exports to Europe increased by 23 percent per month in the second half of 2023, while Ukrainian grain exports fell by 13 percent.”
Ukrainian farmers emphasize that their Polish colleagues do not realize that if Ukraine loses the war, Poland will be threatened by Russian aggression, and then European farmers will think not about grain prices but about how to save their land.
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Author: Ryan Tipps