Ukraine: Russian Air Force appears to bomb Snake Island
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The MoD warned that Ukraine’s exports would likely drop by two-thirds compared to last year, which is likely to send soaring grain prices even higher. Before the war Ukraine was one of the world’s top exporters of wheat and sunflower seeds – used to make vital cooking oil – in the world.
After a humiliating withdrawal from Snake Island, the scene of the now famous defiance by Ukrainian defenders which saw one soldier tell a Russian warship to “go f*** yourself”, Moscow has claimed the ball is in Ukraine’s court to export the much needed harvest to the world.
However, the MoD said that with Russian forces continuing to blockade Ukraine’s major port city of Odessa, the country would likely only be able to export just one-third of its agricultural products.
The MoD said: “With harvest underway, Russia’s invasion continues to have a devastating impact on Ukraine’s agricultural sector. The war has caused major disruption to the supply chains of seed and fertiliser which Ukrainian farmers rely on.
“Russia’s blockade of Odesa continues to severely constrain Ukraine’s grain exports. Because of this, Ukraine’s agricultural exports in 2022 are unlikely to be more than 35% of the 2021 total.
“Following its retreat from the Black Sea outpost of Snake Island, Russia misleadingly claimed that ‘the ball is now in Ukraine’s court’ in relation to improving grain exports.
“In reality, it is Russia’s disruption of Ukraine’s agricultural sector which continues to exacerbate the global food crisis.”
There have been fears of a growing global food crisis as together Russia and Ukraine make up one-third of the world’s wheat export, crucially, Russia is also a top exporter of fertiliser which the world’s farmers need to grow their crops.
Although the West has hit Russia with devastating sanctions, these do not include the export of food and fertiliser products, according to US officials.
Speaking to reporters last month, U.S. State Department Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs Assistant Secretary, Ramin Toloui said: “Nothing is stopping Russia from exporting its grain or fertiliser except for its own policies and actions.”
He claimed that the US fully supported a UN effort to open Ukrainian ports and facilitate Russian exports.
The scare of a shortage has had a knock-on effect, prompting other countries to impose limits on their own exports for fear of running out of grain supplies at home.
India, in May, announced that it had banned the export of wheat from the country. Although not a major exporter of the grain, it was planning on increasing its exports this year five-fold.
The announcement sent prices skyrocketing.
Although, in the West, the shortages likely mean higher prices on things like cooking oil, in other parts of the world the shortage could have devastating effects.
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The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) said it was serving the greatest number of people in its 60-plus year history and that this year would bring “catastrophic hunger” and “unprecedented [food assistance] needs”.
Russia has blamed Ukraine for the shortage, claiming they are willing to allow Ukrainian shipments through their Black Sea blockade. However, Ukraine is reluctant to de-mine its major port of Odessa for fear of a Russian amphibious assault there.
There have also been reports of Russia stealing Ukrainian grain and Ukraine has accused Russia of sending the country’s wheat to its ally Syria.
An estimated 20million tonnes of grain are believed to be stuck in Ukraine.
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