Russia has sent combine harvesters from Crimea to two Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine to cover a shortage of equipment needed to bring in the crop, a representative of a Russian-installed local administration said.
Ukraine has accused Russia, the world’s largest wheat exporter, of stealing grain from territories that Russia’s army has seized since Moscow sent troops to Ukraine on February 24. Moscow denies this.
“A shortage in agricultural machinery was revealed during the harvesting campaign in the Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions,” a representative of the Russian-installed administration of Zaporizhzhia region told reporters in the village of Lobanove in northern Crimea.
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The representative did not provide his name. Crimea was annexed by Russia from Ukraine in 2014.
He was speaking standing near several red and black combine harvesters made by Russia-Belarusian joint venture Bryanskselmash. Shortly afterward, Reuters filmed them heading off in the direction of Zaporizhzhia.
The official said the harvesters were needed because “the equipment that was there before had either been dismantled or taken away by the previous owners outside the regions,” he said.
Evgeny Balitsky, head of the occupation administration in Zaporizhzhia, said on social media that these combine harvesters were provided by Russia’s agriculture ministry.
The region should receive an additional 75 agricultural machines during harvesting, he added.
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