Russia's weapon: blocking Ukraine grain exports
Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden shares his view from Bratislava, Slovakia.
What's going to be the effect of the EU sanctions on Russian oil exports?
Well, that's going to be somewhat dependent on what happens primarily with oil price. If the oil price were to go up, then in spite of exporting less quantities, Russia will probably earn more money. If the oil price goes down or stays stable, they will be able to gain less, especially since they will have to export at significant discount prices to the people that are ready to buy their oil. So remains to be seen, but a significant step.
Is there any prospect for really releasing all of the grain for the world markets from Ukraine, that Russia is blocking?
It doesn't look very good. Russia is saying "well, well, well, we can lift the blockage of the Black Sea, but that's only if you lift all of the sanctions on us", so they're playing hardball. But effectively, they are now using the restrictions on grain and other products coming out of Ukraine as a weapon against the rest of the world. And that is of course affecting a lot of people. Different studies say that we have perhaps up to 400 million people, in the poorer part of the world, that's going to be very hardly hit by these particular aspects of the brutal Russian aggression.