(RepublicanInformer.com)- Tens of thousands of tons of grain belonging to Ukraine, the world’s second-largest grain exporter, were brazenly stolen by Russians.
Five ships, either fully or partially loaded with their haul, simply vanished from a port in Ukraine. The Russians are the chief suspects.
The ships were docked in the port city of Berdyansk in southeastern Ukraine. Residents say Russian tugboats hooked up the vessels and towed them away into the Sea of Azov. The Ukrainian Ministry of Culture and Information Policy’s communications arm broke the news, relaying the information provided by residents.
Oleksandr Starukh, the governor of Zaporizhzhia Oblast, reiterated the accounts of the theft, stating, “A few days ago, these ships disappeared from the port of Berdyansk. People say they were driven away. Russian tugs.”
“There are tens of thousands of tons of grain loaded” on the crafts, Starukh lamented.
The haul was a bountiful one, likely to be worth millions of dollars. Grain prices have shot up recently on the commodities market, with wheat leading the way. According to the Chicago Board of Trade, the price is 70% higher than the previous month, setting a new record on March 8th at $12.94 a bushel.
Ukraine has muscled up as the world’s leading grain supplier. They are number 3 in wheat and 4 in corn. The invasion of Ukraine by the Russians has understandably frightened investors, causing futures to rise significantly.
The timing of this theft could also impact the market, and the potential for food prices to rise is also possible as grains in the west become scarcer. Supply chain disruption had already left shelves in some supermarkets barren. Russia seizing this grain can only add to the looming food shortage crisis.
The Russian occupation of Ukraine eight years ago didn’t affect the Ukrainian’s ability to export grain, but the destabilization of its currency impacted prices.
Ukraine has fifteen seaports along its Sea of Azov and the Black Sea coasts. The Russians took control of the shipping lanes in and out of Ukraine at the start of their invasion. Hundreds of vessels sit in the waters with nowhere to go.
With no resolution in sight and Russia seizing control of grain exports, the cost of food could very well match the rising price of oil.