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Russia Plays Hardball With Blockage of Ukraine Grain Exports | Europe In :60 | GZERO Media

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.

Ari Winkleman

No feed no chicken

First, it was Indonesia with palm oil, then India with wheat. This week, Malaysia joined a growing list of countries nationalizing food supplies by suspending exports of live chickens to cool down soaring local prices that have skyrocketed since Russia invaded Ukraine.

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Officials from the Solomon Islands and China attend a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing in 2019.

REUTERS/Thomas Peter

What We're Watching: China's Pacific strategy, Ukraine food corridor negotiations, Turkey and Israel getting closer

China doubles down on Pacific strategy

Barely a month after inking a controversial security agreement with the Solomon Islands, China's top diplomat on Thursday kicks off a whistle-stop Pacific tour to a whopping eight countries in just 10 days. Foreign Minister Wang Yi reportedly aims to get them to join a China-led regional security and cooperation framework that Western countries fear will allow Beijing to gain a military foothold in a region long-neglected by the US and its allies. The Chinese, for their part, insist no such deal has been offered and that the countries Wang plans to visit are just "good friends." But Australia and New Zealand aren’t buying it: the Aussies have dispatched their newly minted foreign minister to Fiji in the first stop of a roadshow to counter China in the Pacific, while the Kiwis have announced plans to extend their troop deployment in the Solomon Islands for another year. What's more, both Australia and New Zealand — along with the US — are worried about China's plans for the mega-remote island nation of Kiribati, which has few inhabitants, vast territorial waters, huge strategic value … and switched recognition from Taiwan to China in 2019.

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Ari Winkleman

Ukraine and the global food crisis: how bad will it get?

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday served up a stark message to his audience at the World Economic Forum in Davos: we need your help so we can feed you.

With Russia’s war on Ukraine contributing to global shortages of wheat, cooking oils, and fertilizers, Zelensky called for European and UN help to establish export corridors for Ukrainian agriculture products that are currently trapped in Ukraine because of Russian naval blockades.

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky


What We're Watching: Zelensky's plea on Odesa blockade, South Korea's new president, Prince Charles fills in

Zelensky ties Odesa’s fate to global food crisis

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday urged the world to help break a Russian blockade on the Black Sea port of Odesa, which he said is contributing to a global food crisis. He has a point: the war has all but eliminated Ukraine’s massive exports of wheat and cooking oils, most of which leave through Odesa. At the same time, Western sanctions and local export restrictions have decreased Russia’s own sizable exports of grain, oils, and fertilizers. All of this has driven global food prices to record highs, stoking political unrest in places like Indonesia, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, while also threatening to push as many as 44 million more people into famine around the globe this year. Zelensky’s appeal came as Russia intensified its aerial attacks on Odesa. If Russia is able to take the strategic port, the way would be clear for it to continue westward to the Moldovan border, landlocking Ukraine entirely.

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How Russia's War Is Starving the World | Interview with Food Expert Ertharin Cousin | GZERO World

How Russia's war is starving the world: food expert Ertharin Cousin

Russia and Ukraine are agricultural powerhouses. Between the two they account for almost a third of the world's wheat exports. But the war and sanctions against Moscow have crippled their ability to feed the world. The war has created a perfect storm that will lead to a global food price and supply crisis, according to Ertharin Cousin, former head of the UN World Food Programme, who spoke with Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.
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Conundrum: Russian Food Can Prevent Starvation by the World’s Poor | GZERO World

Conundrum: Russian food can prevent starvation by the world's poor

Russia's war in Ukraine has put the international community in a tough spot.

Sanctions against Russia that affect global food commodities will make people go hungry, especially in the Global South. But then the Russians will continue to profit from selling all that food.

So, who should make that call? Ertharin Cousin, who knows a thing or two about the United Nations because she used to run its World Food Programme, says it's time for the UN Security Council to step in.

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War in Ukraine: Cascading Impacts on Global Food Supply | GZERO World

War in Ukraine: cascading impacts on global food supply

Russia's war in Ukraine has created a perfect storm for global food security, Ertharin Cousin, former head of the UN World Food Programme, tells Ian Bremmer on GZERO World.

And it's not just that the prices of things like corn or wheat have doubled. Transport costs are up because gas is more expensive, while supplies of fertilizer are down for the same reason.

The food crisis is affecting not only those countries that import stuff from Russia and Ukraine but the entire world. Why? Because these are all global commodities.

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