One of the most crucial aspects of Russian war against Ukraine is its severely negative impact on the global food security. Attempts to solve the food crisis and secure the export of Ukrainian grain from the sea ports under the Russian blockade have been at the center of international attention, with particular importance for the countries in Middle East, Asia and Africa that would be most severely hit by hunger. On Friday, July 22nd, Ukraine signed a deal in trilateral format with the UN, Turkey and Russia – although Ukrainian officials and public warned that there is no trust in Russia upholding its end of the bargain, which increases the role of the UN and Turkey as guarantors of the deal.
Ukrainian concerns were justified – next day after the deal was signed, Russia fired missiles on the southern city of Odesa, including its port district that is to play a substantial role in exporting Ukrainian grain. World food security remains at risk – unsurprisingly so many experts who warned that Russia is using grain as a leverage in blackmailing Western states and Ukraine to cede concessions, particularly in terms of sanctions.
Weaponizing food, including more than 20 million tons of grain blocked in Ukrainian ports, has been a substantial element of Russian strategy. Aiming to destabilize Africa and Asia with food shortages and force a massive wave of riots and refugees coming to Europe, it hopes to decrease the amount of support provided to Ukraine – especially in terms of weapons that proved to be effective in stalling the Russian offensive, allowing Ukraine to slowly start a counterattack.
Sea ports blockade is, perhaps, the most important but still not the only element of this strategy. Among the many war crimes committed by Russian military on Ukrainian soil are deliberate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure. Such infrastructure includes agricultural facilities, destruction of which in addition to undermining the sowing campaign, mining the fields and stealing Ukrainian food produce has severely influenced the overall food security. Watch Ukraine In Flames #136 to find out more about Russian war crimes destroying Ukrainian agriculture.
- Taras Vysotskyi, Deputy Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine
- Oleh Nivyevskyi, associate professor, Vice President of Economic Education at the Kyiv School of Economics
- Serhii Mazur, mayor of the Balta community of Odesa region.
UKRAINE IN FLAMES project is created by Ukraine Crisis Media Center and NGO “Euroatlantic Course”. We are aiming at searching a loud support for Ukraine in the war started by Russia on the 24th of February 2022.
If you want to support Ukraine against Russian aggression, check the link with recommendations by Ukraine Crisis Media Center – https://uacrisis.org/en/help-ukraine.
NGO Euroatlantic Course collects donations to support Ukrainian Army and civilians – https://eac.org.ua/en/main-page/.