US slaps sanction on Russia proxies linked to Ukraine crop theft

The US government has added more individuals and organizations to its list of sanctions targets in relation to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Among them are those accused of being involved in the theft of Ukrainian grain on behalf of Russia.

Ukraine has been one of the world's major grain suppliers.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on Thursday that 22 individuals and 31 entities have been designated as sanctions targets.

The statement said five of the individuals are Russian proxy officials who have overseen the seizure or theft of hundreds of thousands of tons of Ukrainian grain.

They are accused of supporting or enabling the theft of grain in the southeastern region of Zaporizhzhia, which has been under Russian control, and other parts of the country.

The statement accused Russia of exacerbating food insecurity around the globe.

Meanwhile, a group involving Yale University released on Thursday a report about how the Russian invasion has impacted Ukraine's grain industry.

The report estimated after assessing satellite images and other sources that nearly 15 percent of Ukraine's crop storage capacity has been affected since the invasion began in February.

An aerial image taken in Zaporizhzhia in May showed smoke rising from a facility with damaged roofs.

The report said, "Intentional and indiscriminate targeting of crop storage infrastructure can constitute a war crime and a crime against humanity under international law."