News From Ukraine: How have farmer’s lives changed?

We get an update on farmers in Ukraine and how the war has uprooted their operations.

We want to take the time to check in on farmers in Ukraine amid the war in the country. Today, we are hearing from farmers in occupied regions about how their lives have changed.

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

Since the war started, Russia has occupied about 20 percent of Ukrainian territory. In late September, it held pseudo referendums on their assession to Russian federation. We asked farmers from the occupied regions how their lives and business activities changed.

Serhiy, a farmer from the Kherson region says, “We were gone for a week before the so-called referendums started. There were a lot of people leaving occupied territories. We got used to the sound of rocket launches, but you can get used to being talked to with a machine gun. For a wrong answer, you can be beaten at best, and at worst, kidnapped and then disappear. The other day, a tractor driver with his family who worked for us tried to leave. He was not allowed to leave. He is of military age. When asked why they didn’t let children out, they were not children, but future soldiers of the Russian army, so they had to get passports and prepare.”

Since the beginning of the invasion, the occupiers of the southern regions promised not to abuse the farmers as they provide food, but the reality was different. Many people lost their businesses, like the largest producer of cherries. Some lost equipment, grain, fuel, which were then taken to Russia. This is what happened with Premiti agricultural holding. By the way, farmers track their tractors and found them 1,000 kilometers deep to the enemy’s territory. Warehouses and the properties that the occupiers could not steal were burned and shelled. Some people were spared, but it was clear that their turn would come soon. After the pseudo referendum, they are forced to agree to new rules.

Tetiana, a farmer from Zaporizhzhya region says, “They’re pushing me to resignation. They say that if I don’t register, my products and machinery will be nationalized. Those who stay in Militopal register not to have their businesses taken away.”

Tetiana said that now local producers are forced to pay taxes to Russia. Oddly enough, the currency that they accept is different as long as it is in cash. Otherwise, the companies that don’t pay will be forced to stop operating.

“They say that to pay taxes as we did in Ukraine, only now in the Russian federation. As for banks, they say that we have to open new accounts, but I know that they pay in cash. There are people responsible in City Halls and they deliver the money to them.”

For the residents of the Zaporizhzhya region, the occupiers have published requirements for land shares. They also need to be re-registered if a person has a Russian passport and in accordance with the law of the Russian federation. If the contract is not renewed, a person will be deprived of the rights to land ownership. Therefore, people who stayed are forced by all means to take Russian passports and work for Russia.

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