Ukrainian farmers in the southern port city of Kherson have taken to the streets in a tractor convoy in a courageous show of defiance against their Russian occupiers.
Towns and villages in the Kherson region have been occupied by Russian forces since the early days of the war.
But despite being under occupation, local farmers risked their lives to put on the show of unity, and they have refused to give up their work.
In a video which has gone viral on social media, farmers in the Chulakivka district honk their horns as they set off to work in tractors and sprayers, which proudly display blue and yellow Ukrainian flags.
The video was uploaded to Twitter by the English-language Kyiv Post and has been viewed more than 100,000 times.
— KyivPost (@KyivPost) March 15, 2022
Across the country farmers are in a race against time to drill as much of their spring crops as possible, and they have refused to let the occupying Russian forces disrupt their plans. If they are prevented from sowing their crops in the next six weeks, they say it could have a devastating impact on global grain supplies.
Last week, Kees Huzinga, a Dutch farmer who has been farming in Ukraine for the past 20 years, warned that Russian president Vladimir Putin’s decision to bomb the country risked devastating “the breadbasket of Europe” because farmers were unable to go into fields to plant their crops.
“This [bombing] has to stop now, so that we can continue working normally,” said Mr Huzinga, as he called on politicians and farmers to do everything to work towards peace.
Elsewhere, Ukrainian farmers have become a symbol of resistance against occupying Russian forces.
Footage has emerged on social media of farmers using their tractors to haul away captured Russian military equipment.
One latest video shows members of the “Ukrainian Farmers Brigade” capturing another Russian BTR-80 armoured personnel carrier.
— 🇺🇦 Ukraine Weapons Tracker (@UAWeapons) March 17, 2022
Donetsk farm bombed
Workers on a farm near Donetsk in eastern Ukraine had to run to the bomb shelter on Tuesday 15 March as missiles fired by Russian forces hit buildings and machinery.
One worker suffered a leg injury as she ran for cover, several buildings were damaged and five tractors and other machinery was destroyed.
The farm’s owner, Eugen, said he had no idea when spring planting would start, adding that the local village was under daily shelling.
“Besides, the farm has run short of diesel and seeds and stocks are insufficient to proceed,” he said.