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Mayor of Melitopol confirms reports of Russians stealing grain by train

Wednesday, 8 June 2022, 18:08

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 8, 2022, 17: 49 - OLEKSII PAVLYSH

Russian occupation forces have started exporting grain from Melitopol by train – evidence that they intend to leave the occupied city as soon as possible. 

Source: Ivan Fedorov, Mayor of Melitopol, on the 24/7 national joint news broadcast, via Radio Svoboda

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Quote from Fedorov: "Two days ago, they started exporting our grain by rail – with the intent of doing it faster. And it is clearly clear that they do not plan to stay in the city for long, because they want to steal everything as quickly as possible and leave."

On June 6, The Melitopol mayor said that Russian troops had withdrawn from "almost all checkpoints" in the Melitopol district and expressed confidence that "Melitopol will be de-occupied in the coming weeks or months."

Background: Earlier, Russian propaganda media – with reference to Yevhenii Balytskyi, the Kremlin-appointed head of the Zaporizhzhia military-civil administration – reported that the first freight train carrying grain stolen from Ukraine has left the Russian-occupied territories of the Zaporizhzhia Oblast.

In early May, the Zaporizhzhia Oblast Military Administration reported that occupiers were taking grain and vegetables out of the occupied territories of the Zaporizhzhia Oblast to Crimea.

On May 4, First Deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food Taras Vysotskyi said that Russians had exported a total of about 400 thousand tons of grain from four temporarily occupied Ukrainian territories – that is,  a third of all reserves located in the territories.

On June 7, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said that Russian troops had  opened a land bridge to Crimea through the temporarily occupied southern territories of Ukraine.

Shoigu also added that Russian occupiers had restored the ability to run trains on six railway sections between "Russia, Donbas, Ukraine, and Crimea," adding up to a total length of 1,200 km. He also noted that the Russian Federation had begun delivering cargo to Mariupol, Berdiansk, and Kherson.

Railway communication between Crimea and Ukraine was suspended in 2014 when Russia annexed the Ukrainian peninsula.

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