The Ukraine Report: Russia demolishes one of Ukraine’s largest vegetable processing facility

It has almost been a year since the Russian and Ukrainian war broke out. We are taking a look at a vegeteable processing facility that was destroyed.

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

“We were working then. The war broke out. I was standing right here. Helicopters were coming from there. I thought, ‘let them fly,’ but they started bombing. Antonov airport is 800 meters away. The bombs were so powerful that the debris flew over my head. Never in my life have I heard such loud explosions,” said Zavhorodnyuk

This is Serhiy Zavhorodnyuk President of Green Guild Group, a vegetable producer. The company is based in Hostomel, a small town outside Kyiv. The legendary Hostomel airport is not far away. As planned by the Russian leadership, it was supposed to become a springboard for the Russian landing force to capture the Ukrainian capitol in the early hours of the war.

“It is almost 12 months since the start of the invasion. Do you feel that if the airport hadn’t been taken back, it’s uncertain how the war would’ve gone on?” asked Konstatin, the reporter.

“Absolutely. Antonov airports slowed them down. In fact, Hostomel stopped them,” said Zavhorodnyuk.

Green Guild Group is one of Ukraine’s largest producers and processors of potatoes, carrots, beets, and onions. Vegges are grown on 700 hectares. The company has one of the most up-to-date vegetable processing plants.

In the first days of the war, the company came under heavy fire from Russian artillery. Two shells hit the agricultural machinery hanger directly.

“This is a reconstructed building. The bombs dropped in this part and on that side. The roof was gone and the building was virtually ruined along with all of the equipment. The warehouses where the vegetables were stored also burned down. There was not a single building that was in tact. Here, a thick layer of polyurethane foam was laid. This place used to be a refrigerator for beets, the bomb hit the roof, everything was on fire. The building is completely destroyed beyond repair. We are going to demolish it. The building is 1,000 square meters, 1,200 tons of beets were stored here,” said Zavhorodnyuk.

Serhiy’s son, Kostyantyn is a commercial director. He said despite all the circumstances, they are going to plant this spring. The priority is to restore the damaged equipment. These are five tractors in a potato planting complex. Banks are reluctant to finance the company.

“Since we are close to the border with Belarus, there are high risks of repeated offenses and renewed hostility, so it is a challenge to get loans, but we will search for money for we are back in the fields soon,” said Kostyantyn Zavhorodnyuk, Commercial Director.

One year later, Serhiy is still terrified when he recalls the first hours of the Russian invasion.

“I get calls from Kyiv, I confirm when he hear explosions. The debris is flying, people are buried there. War was here,” said Zavhorodnyuk.

Today, Hostomel is free and the missiles are flying less frequently, but the war is not over yet.

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.