There are really two wars being fought by Russia today – one a war of conquest against Ukraine, and the other a siege war, intended to stop food exports, whose victims include millions of people around the world.
That second war, conducted by Russian naval forces through their blockade of the Black Sea, has received less attention, but is already causing considerable suffering and has the potential to claim countless lives. As we rightly step up our assistance to Ukraine, there is an equal need to take action, perhaps more bluntly and directly, to end this food war.
At root is Ukraine’s role as one of the world’s largest agricultural exporters. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization recently declared it “among the most important producers of agricultural commodities in the world.”
Ukraine normally exports 10 per cent of the world’s wheat, 13 per cent of barley, 15 per cent of corn and 50 per cent of sunflower oil. Together, its food exports make it the fifth-largest grain exporter, accounting for 6 per cent of the world’s agricultural production, measured by calories.