Ukraine is among the globe’s top exporters of crucial grains, including corn, wheat, barley, rapeseed, and soybeans, and was the world’s largest producer of sunflower oil prior to Russia’s full-scale invasion. Among key importers of these foodstuffs include the countries of North Africa, the Middle East, and East Asia. Since Russia’s full-scale invasion, exports have become increasingly difficult—and dangerous—amid Russian attacks on Ukrainian ports and deliberate destruction of Ukraine’s agricultural infrastructure.
Russia’s occupation of southern regions of Ukraine has jeopardized the stability of global food supply. Russian mines and artillery fire have shrunk Ukraine’s arable land, Russian attacks have hurt Ukraine’s ability to export grain, and Russian forces’ blocking ports in the Black and Azov seas threatens maritime grain trade. In doing so, Moscow’s war on Ukraine has exacerbated global food insecurity as a means to leverage the world’s dire nutritional needs to alleviate sanctions and trade restrictions resulting from its ongoing aggression.
Russia’s cynical grain blackmail is a component of its war effort as it seeks to subjugate Ukraine and its people. This policy carries echoes of Russia’s Soviet past and Stalin’s man-made famine in Ukraine between 1932 and 1933: the Holodomor, which caused millions of deaths.
How has Russia’s violence in Ukraine impacted food production and exports? How has the international community responded to Russia’s weaponization of food supply in a globalized agricultural economy, and what steps can Ukraine’s partners take to alleviate the impacts of this weaponization? How does Russia’s past mirror its dangerous actions today as it blocks ports, mines farmland, and attacks critical agricultural infrastructure?
The Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center and the McCain Institute gather a panel of experts from Ukraine and the United States to discuss Moscow’s weaponization of food as a tool of aggression in its war on Ukraine and global security.
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Defense for Russia, Ukraine, and Eurasia
International Center for Ukrainian Victory
Former Member of the Parliament of Ukraine;
Founder and Board Chair
Ants in Social Networks;
Democracy in Action Conference
Europe in crisis
War in Ukraine
In February 2022, Moscow launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine after a months-long military build-up, threatening the country’s sovereignty and its future. This existential moment for the country follows the 2014 Maidan revolution, a nexus for Ukraine’s Europe-focused foreign policy and reform efforts. The ensuing Russian invasion and occupation of Crimea, aggression in Ukraine’s east, and Kremlin disinformation efforts, cast a shadow over Ukraine’s independence.
UkraineAlert Sep 27, 2023
Ukraine’s counteroffensive is making real progress on the Crimean front
By Peter Dickinson
Ukraine’s escalating attacks in Crimea are steadily undermining Russia’s invasion and are a reminder that the Ukrainian counteroffensive is not limited to the relatively static front lines of the war, writes Peter Dickinson.
UkraineAlert Sep 20, 2023
Zelenskyy tells United Nations: Russia is committing genocide in Ukraine
By Taras Kuzio
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told the UN this week that Russia is committing genocide in Ukraine. Efforts to legally prove genocidal intent will likely focus on the genocidal rhetoric of Putin and other Russian leaders, writes Taras Kuzio.
The Eurasia Center’s mission is to enhance transatlantic cooperation in promoting policies that strengthen stability, democratic values, and prosperity in Eurasia, from Eastern Europe in the West to the Caucasus, Russia, and Central Asia in the East.
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