Russian firms exported allegedly looted Ukrainian grains from occupied Kherson

According to records obtained, over 34,000 metric tons of grain worth an estimated $6.7 million was exported from Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine’s Kherson Oblast between July and September 2022.

An investigation by Euromaidan Press has uncovered documents showing Russian companies were approved by Kremlin-appointed officials to export tens of thousands of tons of Ukrainian agricultural products seized from the occupied Kherson region at reduced or zero export duties.

According to records obtained, over 34,000 metric tons of grain worth an estimated $6.7 million was exported from Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine’s Kherson Oblast between July and September 2022. The exports were authorized by Moscow’s civil-military administration running the region after Russian forces captured it early in the invasion.

The leaked documents provide insight into the systematic looting of valuable Ukrainian commodities like grain, sunflower oil, and metals by Russian firms with ties to the Kremlin during the ongoing occupation. Previous reports have alleged Russia has stolen and exported hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Ukrainian agricultural goods, farm equipment, and industrial products.

Stamped documents show permits were issued by the so-called Kherson Regional Customs under the occupation administration led by Kremlin-appointed Deputy Andrey Alekseyenko. The permits allowed Russian firms like Agro-Semos and Agro Trade House to export thousands of tons of seized wheat, corn and sunflower from Kherson to Russia without paying any customs duties.

For individual Ukrainian farmers and suppliers whose products were looted, the thefts represent a devastating economic blow on top of the physical destruction and violence inflicted by Russian invasion forces. Watchdog groups say the plundering appears to violate international laws prohibiting the pillaging of resources in occupied territories.

Russia has denied allegations of any systematic looting or theft in Ukrainian territories seized by its forces. It claims measures have been taken to preserve agricultural commodities and industrial output in occupied regions abandoned by Ukrainian authorities and companies.

However, the leaked records add to a growing body of evidence contradicting Moscow’s narrative and pointing to large-scale appropriation of Ukrainian assets for the benefit of Russian economic interests. As the brutal war continues, concerns are mounting over Russia exploiting captured Ukrainian resources to sanction-proof its industries and offset the strain of Western penalties over the invasion.

Governments, advocacy groups and international organizations will now be scrutinizing these new revelations to identify the companies and individuals potentially complicit in the plundering of Ukrainian commodities from occupied areas. Their involvement could expose them to additional sanctions and asset seizures around the world.