During the 20-year ban on farm land sales, Ukraine’s state has lost the equivalent of “almost two Crimean peninsulas,” to land thefts by “businessmen and politicians,”

President Zelenskiy said yesterday at Ukraine 30, a land forum. About 5 million hectares of state land moved illegally into private hands, he said. Crimea’s territory is 2.7 million hectares. During the land sale moratorium, 7 million rural residents were deprived of full ownership rights, and 1 million died, often in poverty, unable to sell their land, he said.

Auctions of state or communal farm land will now take place openly through electronic auctions conducted on the Internet,

under a bill adopted yesterday by the Rada. “Anyone with a computer and Internet access will be able to take part in the auction,” (Interfax-Ukraine). “According to the ministry, the winners of the bidding will be those who offer the highest price per lot.” Plot sizes are limited to 20 hectares and buyers are limited to Ukrainians.