Distressing photos Wednesday showed Ukrainian crops ablaze from Russian artillery strikes, as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces intensified their attacks on cities and villages in eastern Ukraine.
Fire swept across fields of wheat outside Mykolayiv in southern Ukraine, according to images distributed by authorities in Kyiv Wednesday. The photos showed at least one unexploded Russian rocket buried in the ground as Ukrainian firefighters tried to save the crops.
Ukraine is one of the world’s largest exporters of grain — specifically wheat and corn — as well as sunflower oil. Before the invasion, Russia and Ukraine accounted for nearly a third of global wheat exports.
Wednesday’s bombardment came five days after Russia and Ukraine signed deals with Turkey and the United Nations to secure shipping channels in the Black Sea, facilitating the resumption of the grain trade.
Russian missiles fell on Odessa — a historic port at the center of the grain trade and Ukraine’s third-largest city — just one day after the deal was signed, destroying a grain storage warehouse and a rail depot.
Meanwhile, two Ukrainian civilians were killed in Donetsk, one of the two states that make up the eastern Donbas region, after Russian shelling hit a hotel in the city of Bakhmut.
The attack on Bakhmut comes as Russia continues to push for full control of the Donbas, an effort that’s been flagging since the capture of Lysychansk in early July.
Russia claimed to have captured the Ukrainian coal-fired power plant at Vuhlehirsk in Donetsk on Wednesday, a victory that could not be confirmed. Ukrainian authorities have only said that hostilities around the plant continue.
Meanwhile, in southern Ukraine, Kyiv’s forces continued to pound a major bridge outside Kherson with rocket fire, cutting off Russian resupply ahead of an expected Ukrainian counter-offensive in the region.
With Post wires