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How Russia is using hunger as a weapon in Ukraine

Ukrainian farmers struggle amid war
How Ukrainian farmers are trying to survive amid Russian invasion 03:19

Ukrainian farmers are facing far more problems than where to send their harvests. Wheatfields have become battlefields and many farmers are trading in their pitchforks for rifles.  

"We go out, pass the checkpoints, get to work, drink tea and coffee, put on our vests and go," one farmer told CBS News.

Russian forces are accused of trucking away tons of Ukrainian grain, destroying wheat fields, and killing livestock in an effort to damage the farms during their invasion. 

"The piglets and calves were screaming, they were burned alive," Farmer Lubov Zlobina said. 

While Ukraine's farms have never been more vital for Zlobina, continuing to farm is a hard choice. 

"It can mean death for me and for my workers," he said. 

APTOPIX Russia Ukraine War
A soldier stands in the entrance of a farm destroyed after a Russian attack near Brovary, on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine. Rodrigo Abd / AP

North of Kyiv, Andriy Korotkov runs the last operative farm within 30 miles. Korotko told CBS News that he believes the Russian are using hunger as a weapon. 

"I've seen it with my own eyes," he said. "They've bombed our storehouses, and when they leave, they steal everything." 

About 45% of Ukrainians worry about finding enough to eat, according to the World Food Program. 

Korotkov says it's the same tactic as the infamous 1933 famine when Stalin starved millions of Ukrainians by cutting off their food. 

This time, it's also the world's food. The war has disrupted the production of wheat, oats and cooking oils. Ukraine and Russia produce 25% of the global wheat supply but the Russian invasion has halted much of the production. 

The United Nations estimates the war could cause the number of humans facing acute hunger to rise by 47 million to 323 million worldwide.

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