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Kody Blois rises in the House of Commons in Ottawa on Nov. 29, 2021. The chair of the House of Commons agriculture committee says Russian troops have been stealing from Ukraine's grain stores and selling them on the international market via Syria.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

Kody Blois, chair of the House of Commons agriculture committee, says Russian troops have been pilfering Ukraine’s grain stores and selling them on the international market via Syria.

The Liberal MP noted today that a Ukrainian MP had told the committee that Russia has stolen around 500,000 tonnes of grain from Ukrainian silos in territory it has occupied.

Blois’s expression of concern comes amid warnings from aid agencies that Russia’s blocking of Ukraine’s ports could lead to starvation in the developing world.

Ukraine’s silos contain millions of tonnes of grain destined for global markets including in the Middle East and Africa but the embattled country is unable to export it via ports such as Odesa.

The Commons agriculture committee, carrying out an inquiry into global food security, is hearing evidence about the effect of the war on Ukraine’s ability to plant and export crops.

At a news conference, Blois says he heard evidence that 13 per cent of fields in Ukraine have been seeded with landmines by the Russians or contain unexploded shells.

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