Cargill plant in Ukraine occupied by armed militants

Company shut down sunflower oil plant operations on July 4

Cargill Inc. suspended operations at a sunflower oil plant in Donetsk, Ukraine, and the facility is occupied by armed militants, according to reports. The Ukraine government is battling pro-Russian separatists in the region.

A spokeswoman for Cargill said in an email July 11 that the plant was shut down July 4 because of an “escalation of tension in the region.”

“The plant has subsequently been occupied by a small number of armed individuals whose intentions are not clear to us,” the spokeswoman said.

There are no company employees currently at the site and it is unclear when it will restart, she said.

Reports say Ukrainian forces are advancing after rebels shifted thousands of fighters to the provincial capitals of Donetsk and Luhansk. Up to 100,000 people have left Donetsk in recent weeks.

Cargill has had operations in Ukraine for 21 years. It has more than 700 employees in the country.