Putin to face another case as Russia started preparing famine in Ukraine even before invasion
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Russian President Vladimir Putin may face a new war crime case as experts and international lawyers have gathered evidence that shows that Russia began preparations for a famine in Ukraine even before the military invasion.
Source: The Independent
Quote: “Purchases by a Russian defence contractor suggest Moscow was planning to steal vast quantities of Ukrainian grain months before troops ever crossed the border,” the newspaper writes.
According to new evidence collected by human rights experts, Russia was actively preparing to steal grain stocks that would deprive the Ukrainian population of food. Preparations for this began and continued for several months before Putin gave the order to invade Ukraine in February 2022.
Quote: “When Russian tanks did roll across the border on 24 February 2022 they deliberately targeted grain-rich areas and food production infrastructure first,” says a new report by international human rights law firm Global Rights Compliance (GRC).
The GRC found that as early as December 2021, a Russian defence contractor began purchasing grain trucks as well as three new 170-metre dry cargo ships, indicating a pre-planned looting of Ukraine’s food resources “on an unprecedented scale.”
And less than a week after the invasion, Russia began seizing Ukrainian farms, stealing 12,000 tonnes of grain a day.
Evidence of a “highly coordinated level of pre-planning” will be provided to the International Criminal Court.
The GRC hopes it will lead to the first international prosecution against Putin for the war crime of starvation as a method of warfare.
It is highly likely that Russia will be found guilty, believes Catriona Murdoch, a partner at Global Rights Compliance.
And if that happens, Putin could face yet another ICC arrest warrant in addition to the one issued in March of this year for the illegal deportation of children from occupied Ukrainian territories.
“Russia not only deployed a multi-pronged approach by besieging civilian populations, destroying critical infrastructure, but it also pre-planned the seizure and pillage of agricultural commodities in an insidious plan. Moscow has sparked a global food crisis and attacked Ukraine’s agriculture sector as a warfare tactic,” Murdoch said in an interview with The Independent.
Looted grain in Ukraine is currently estimated at US$1 billion per year. Several private Ukrainian grain companies were forcibly incorporated into the Russian state operator, the GRC reported.
In addition to affecting Ukrainian citizens, Russia’s invasion has affected millions of people around the world, exacerbating global food insecurity as Ukraine was the world’s largest producer of wheat before the conflict.
Satellite images shared by the GRC with The Independent show grain trucks at the facility in Melitopol with licence plates registered in occupied Crimea. In other pictures, it can be seen that the trains consisting of wagons with the inscription “grain” leave the Berdiansk railway station.
The GRC also noted job ads being posted in Russia that suggested the government was looking for truck drivers to transport vast quantities of stolen food.
The investigation into the grain theft continued until August of this year.
The GRC said that while Russia has not seized any grain-rich territory since then, it still controls the entire Crimean peninsula, one of the main regions from which grain is transported by sea to Russia and abroad.
GRC senior lawyer Yusuf Sayed Khan called Russia’s use of Ukraine’s grain industry an “unprecedented weapon in modern history.”
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