Ukraine is one of the world’s biggest exporters of wheat, sunflower oil, and corn, but the war and a Russian blocking of its ports have discontinued much of that outpour, jeopardizing world food supplies.
Countries relying on Ukraine for beets and wheat are seeing shortages after months of the war. Egypt and other African nations are seeing skyrocketing food costs.
Moscow presses the West to lift sanctions against Russia and shift the blame for the food crisis aggravated by Kyiv’s inability to ship millions of tons of agricultural products and grain.
Russian President Vladimir Putin implied to Mario Draghi, Italian Prime Minister, that Moscow is keen to make a substantial subsidy to overcome the food crisis through fertilizer and grain export, provided the West will lift the politically motivated limitations.
Russia is also a significant grain exporter, and Dmitri Peskov said the West must revoke the illicit decisions that interfere with chartering ships and grain shipment.
World leaders are ramping for solutions. Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of the World Trade Organization said approximately 25 million tons of grain are in Ukrainian storage, and next month 25 million tons more could be harvested.
The Situation in Eastern Ukraine
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has said the situation in eastern Ukraine is tough with Russian forces firing, seizing, and assaulting key cities.
In his nightly address to the nation, Zelenskyy said that the Russian army wanted to demolish everything there. The mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, told the World Economic Forum that safety is his main priority.
Before the war, the population of Kyiv was approximately 3.5 million. Still, now it is down to 1 million, although more people are slowly returning to the city since Russia withdrew its troops.
Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, said on Wednesday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that there could be a food crisis if Russia continues to block ships from carrying export produce.
Mikhail Mizintsev, head of Russia’s National Defense Control Center, claimed there are 70 foreign vessels from six ports and will allow them to leave Mariupol through the Sea of Azov, Odesa, and Kherson and Mykolaiv on the Black Sea. And yet, he did not specify how many were ready to carry food. The Russian foreign ministry claimed five ships were able to leave Mariupol, but CNBC was unable to verify the information.
Russian forces persisted in pressing their offensive in several regions of eastern Donbas, focusing on the factories and industrial heartland of coal mines after Russia suffered a string of lapses and diverted to restricted goals.
Written by Janet Grace Ortigas
Edited by Sheena Robertson
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