News From Ukraine: First-hand look at the destruction from Russian attacks

We want to take the time to check in on farmers in Ukraine amid the ongoing war in the country. Today we get an inside look at the destruction of ag operations in the country as Russian attacks continue.

Latifundist Media has partnered with us to provide boots-on-the-ground coverage:

This is AGR company and its Mykolaiv cluster. We visited the village of Partyzans’ke in the Mykolaiv region. The settlement was in the gray zone from the early weeks of the war through November. After the Ukrainian Armed Forces pushed the Russians to the left bank of the Dnieper, the village was liberated.

“There was massive destruction. The shelling never stopped here. Mine, tanks, MLRS. Sometimes even phosphorus munitions were used.”

The company bought this cluster a few weeks before the invasion. The Mykolaiv cluster comprises about 15 thousand hectares, more than 100 irrigation machines, a grain storage facility, warehouses with seeds, fertilizers, and dozens of equipment.

“Machinery is on fire after the shelling, and there’s nothing you can do but watch it burn. They deliberately shelled the fields, and set fire to the fields with crops. So that the harvest could not be collected.”

In the summer, the Russians shelled the grain storage and a nitrate warehouse in Partyzans’ke. In their propaganda videos, they showed as if they had blown up an ammunition depot.

“There were more than 200 tons of fertilizers. And this is the aftermath of an air bomb being thrown here.”

There are several enterprises in the cluster. The Russians were entrenching at one of them.

“It was their headquarters, they had machinery there. Dugouts, trenches. What they couldn’t steal, they ruined and destroyed. “

But even in the places where they were living temporarily, everything was destroyed.

“Everything is destroyed there too. Not because of shelling or air strikes, but by the soldiers themselves. They broke everything, dug up, stole everything they could: spare parts, fertilizers.”

The Russians were particularly active in stealing generators.

“We had 25 generators left at the enterprise. We wanted to give them to people. Russians saw these generators. We took them out and distributed them to people. The Russians armed with machine guns demanded to bring back the generators or they would shoot everyone.”

Company employee Ruslan Balko recalls the months of occupation.

“After the battle on March 12, there was no electricity or water. The sewage also stopped working. There was still gas for some time. And when mass shelling began, the pipes were cut off. Communications should be restored before the New Year.”

Ayk is in touch with the staff, most of them are looking forward to returning to work. They plan to rebuild everything together. And there is much work to be done.

That report was powered by Latifundist Media, with USAID support provided through Agriculture Growing Rural Opportunities (AGRO) Activity implemented in Ukraine by Chemonics International. For more information, visit their website or follow them on social media.