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Putin Breaches Grain Deal, Is He Weaponizing Global Famine?

Putin Breaches Grain Deal, Is He Weaponizing Global Famine?

Once again, the grain works of Ukraine, a major player in the global food chain, is under attack. For the fourth consecutive day, Russian forces have targeted the country’s grain export facilities, intensifying a crisis that Western leaders are calling a strategy to trigger a worldwide food shortage as a means to escape sanctions. This unceasing bombardment, combined with Russia’s training to seize ships in the Black Sea, has resulted in significant collateral damage.

Echoing the fears of the international community, the United Nations has warned that these actions could spur a domino effect of rising food prices, putting millions at risk of hunger and starvation, especially those in poor nations. “Some will go hungry, some will starve, many may die as a result of these decisions,” remarked Martin Griffiths, the UN aid chief, in a meeting with the Security Council.

What’s happening in Ukraine is more than a regional conflict. It’s a struggle that could potentially destabilize global food security, particularly for vulnerable regions like Africa. Countries in the Horn of Africa, like Somalia and Ethiopia, are predicted to be the hardest hit if grain supply is cut off, leading to catastrophic consequences.

The UN has noted that a deal in place had succeeded in reducing global food prices by over 23% since March of the previous year. The disruption of this agreement is where the potential for a global crisis lies. Russia argues that inadequate Ukrainian grain has been reaching needy countries and that it is now negotiating directly with the nations most affected. Furthermore, Moscow insists it will not rejoin the deal unless there are better conditions for its food and fertilizer sales.

Russia has countered these accusations, blaming Ukraine for using the sea corridor for launching “terrorist attacks”. As a result, the Russian Black Sea fleet has started firing at “floating targets”, treating all ships bound for Ukrainian waters as potential weapons carriers. This escalating tension and the attacks on grain export infrastructure are causing benchmark Chicago wheat futures to soar, heading towards their biggest weekly gain since the invasion in February 2022.

In response to Russia’s actions, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy of Ukraine said in his nightly video address, “If someone in Russia hopes that they can somehow turn the Black Sea into an area of arbitrary action and terrorism, this will not work for them.” He added, “We know how to defend ourselves and we see around the world a readiness to work together further and more actively in order to guarantee calm for our region.”

The humanitarian catastrophe that Ukraine faces reverberates around the world. As Martin Griffiths, the U.N. humanitarian chief, explained, for many of the 362 million people requiring assistance, the interruption of crucial Ukrainian and Russian grain threatens the survival of their families. “Some will go hungry, some will starve, many may die as a result of these decisions,” he warned.

The world watches and waits as these events unfold, as decisions made in Eastern Europe could have far-reaching implications that affect people thousands of miles away. The need for swift and comprehensive solutions is paramount, not only to safeguard the people of Ukraine but to prevent a potential global crisis.

Last year as Ukraine’s grain exports were threatened, India abruptly ceased wheat exports. Bengali officials held a clandestine meeting with their Russian counterparts last week, seeking an emergency trade agreement to supplement their starved grain reserves. With over 60% of their annual 7 million tons of wheat usually imported from India, Bangladesh is on the precipice of a daunting food crisis. “Russia may offer us an urgent lifeline with 200,000 tons of wheat,” admitted an apprehensive official from Bangladesh’s food ministry, underlining the nation’s precarious circumstance.

Meanwhile, Somalia is reeling under the shadows of catastrophe, their vulnerability amplified with Russia’s interruption of Ukrainian wheat exports. The aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has seen food prices in Somalia virtually double, coupled with a shocking 300% increase in fertilizer costs. The nation is also grappling with acute water scarcity after four consecutive failed rainy seasons.

As Russian and Ukraine battle it out, millions teeter on the brink of severe hunger, with the UN warning that hundreds of thousands of children may not survive until the year’s end. “The specter of famine looms closer than ever, unless our response is significantly amplified,” warned Adam Abdelmoula, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for Somalia.

One has to wonder, is this something that Putin wants? Is he purposely raising the stakes for the rest of the world to get leverage? Is he, indeed, weaponizing starvation to further his agenda?

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  1. frank stetson

    Isn’t famine a weapon in general?

    • Tom

      Yes, and it is a particularly callused and harsh one. In the past, blocking food sources has been restricted to the two countries warring as a way to starve the enemy out. An American example is Grant’s siege of Vicksburg. He settled for surrounding the city and waiting until the city occupants just got way to hungry. What the Russians are doing is different. I think the issue here is that the war is between Russia and Ukraine but the damage of a famine is killing people that have nothing to do with the crisis, NATO, or anything else. They just want to be able to eat enough to keep their bodies alive. Putin is claiming once again with no evidence given that I know of, that these ships are being used for weapons transport. As far as I know, most weapons are entering Ukraine through Poland. There is a middle ground that would address Putin’s weapons shipment concerns to allow UN inspection forces for each ship and certify no weapons coming or going. But Putin does not want this. It would prove he is wrong. He wants to change people’s minds by causing massive pain. You know the old saying, “When you grab them by the balls their hearts and minds will follow.” This exhibits how far authoritarians will go to push their ideology. This makes Putin a world thug.

  2. frank stetson

    I think this is a great opportunity for Biden to push a little harder. Just get NATO support on our grain ships entering the fracas with the “red line” on what happens when Putin strikes at NATO. Mr. Horist may get his nuclear horror or the world might get it’s Ukrainian grain. But I don’t see us crossing any lines just to go in and get some grain to feed the world’s hungry.

    • Tom

      While I do agree with you as far as shipping grain and avoiding unnecessary deaths (you have not said this but I assume you are for such) Frank, the fact is that Mr. Putin will see harm because 1) He wants starvation as a war tool; 2) The USA supplies more arms to Ukraine than any other country, even though for the most part we send them through Poland. I am pretty sure that Putin would see US grain ships as a method of potentially supplying arms. Even if they are not doing this, he would claim it, then not allow any inspections of sunken ships. I would rather not see our shipping be involved when all we need is UN inspectors just like there are UN peace keeping forces. Russia and China both are members of the UN Security Counsel. Lets put China on the spot to pressure Russia into allowing UN inspectors. Heck, maybe China can even supply the inspectors. This is a good wedge issue to test that “Partnership with no Limits” that Xi brags about!

      • frank stetson

        Should have clarified, our ships = NATO ships from any country, just under NATO protection. Yes, he could declare war, he can do that any time he wants and he will rationalize it somehow. Since his cancellation of the original deal is a renegotiation to include Russian agro shipments, good time to push back. As far as covert arms shipments, they could have been happening before too. The entire Western boarder is open, so why sneak them in on the grain? Again, he can claim whatever he wants, we just have being humanitarian on our side.

        Adding the UN would be a sweet touch to NATO —- let the ships fly the UN flag, be crewed by UN volunteers, whatever. Good adder. Let Putin pick the inspectors, if he wants them.

        • Tom

          Yes I agree. NATO ships flying UN flag is fine with me, and let Putin pick the inspectors. But I doubt that Putin will agree.

          I agree that there are many ways of getting weapons into Ukraine. It does not make sense to load them on a ship and deliver them to a Russian held port that has been basically destroyed.

          I think Putin is running a bit low on money and really wants to sell Russian grain so he can get funding, and who knows, maybe sneak weapons into Ukraine.

          • Frank stetson

            Who cares if Putin agrees. That’s the point. We don’t care, come and get us and Hell, in the form of NATO will come raining down and that ain’t an UN peace mission.

            Just think it would be a peaceful way to tweak the mf-er without overtly picking a fight.

  3. Rayzor

    So the Famine that’s coming as a result of World leaders shutting down the energy sectors, banning fertilizers, tripling fuel costs, Gates and china buying up farmland and sending crops to China or just not growing them. Shutting down supply chains, burning down a thousand food processing plants worldwide. All sponsored by the WEF puppets, is Russia’s fault. Right. And Trumps a double agent for Russia, Children aren’t being trafficked, Joe Biden is a genius and if you trust big Pharma you won’t get sick.

    • Tom

      Don’t sugar coat it, give it to us straight!!!

      We’re on the Eve of Destruction!!!