KIEV, August 19 (RIA Novosti) – Ukraine will lose 15 percent of its projected harvest this year due to military campaigns in the country’s eastern republics of Luhansk and Donetsk, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Tuesday.
“We have lost 15 percent of our harvest because of them,” Yatsenyuk said during a meeting with the country’s largest agricultural producers.
The US Department of Agriculture lowered its projections for Ukrainian grain harvests in mid-May for the 2014-2015 agricultural year. According to the department’s new forecasts, Ukraine’s harvest will drop 12.7 percent to 54.3 million metric tons, compared to last year’s harvest of 63 million metric tons.
The humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine is now in dire condition due to intense fighting in the region. Amid ongoing violence between supporters of independence and Ukrainian troops, many citizens have been forced to leave eastern Ukraine in search of shelter. Some have settled in regions of the country that haven’t been affected by the fighting, while others are crossed into neighboring Russia. According to UN Refugee Agency estimates released on August 5, more than 730,000 people have fled Ukraine for Russia since January.
In early August, Russia made a proposal to the UN Security Council that it send an international humanitarian mission to the troubled Ukrainian regions with Russian aid under the auspices of the Red Cross (ICRC).
On August 12, 280 trucks carrying about 2,000 metric tons of humanitarian aid, including 400 tons of grain, 100 tons of sugar, 62 tons of baby food, 54 tons of medicine, 12,000 sleeping bags and 69 mobile power generators set off from Moscow region to the conflicted areas in Ukraine.
On August 17, the first 16 trucks of Russia’s humanitarian aid convoy arrived at a customs checkpoint on the Ukrainian border, with more expected to follow. The head of the ICRC delegation for Russia, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine, Pascal Cuttat, examined the trucks Sunday and said he was satisfied with their condition, Russia’s Emergencies Ministry stated.