Russia’s responsibility for increasing world hunger

One of the most important international repercussions that will occur with the invasion of Ukraine consists in the blocking of the export and production of wheat. In rich countries this fact translates into a substantial contribution from the increase in inflation, caused by the increase in raw materials destined for the food industry. The problem is deeply felt and the governments of the industrialized countries have room for maneuver to try to limit the damage, especially for the poorest segments of the population. A very different order of problems, however, occurs for poor countries or even for those whose national wealth has been greatly reduced due to the sum of the contingencies of the pandemic and the time of war. Several African countries, for example, are running out of grain reserves and the prospect of additional reasons to the already present to cause new famines, is becoming more and more concrete. By invading the Ukrainian country and submitting the ports of Kiev, through which grain exports transit, Moscow is creating the conditions for generating a global food crisis; it should be remembered that this factor aggravates previous situations that were already difficult due to the shortage of water and highly unstable political situations, which in fact do not allow food autonomy for many countries. It is hard to believe that these results are merely side effects of a war that was badly thought out and conducted worse. It seems easier to believe in a functional political plan to create a favorable situation for the Kremlin towards Europe. Putin must have been inspired by the various dictators, who used emigration to the European continent, as a form of pressure on Brussels: the tactic has almost always been successful, because it has created deep divisions among the members of the Union, especially on the modalities and amount of reception. Surely the Russian strategists cannot have escaped this possibility, which can become a weapon aimed directly at Europe, however the implications go beyond the geopolitical reasons and contingent on the war itself: the responsibility of starving millions of people must not be underestimated by the enemies of Putin and Russia, as is currently happening, with this factor that seems underestimated and which is not given the necessary political and journalistic prominence. The issue is above all humanitarian: blocking exports of Ukrainian wheat causes the deprivation of basic foodstuffs in most poor countries, triggering processes of food scarcity, which can lead to malnutrition, with the consequent worsening of sanitary conditions, but also linked to political stability, in many cases already precarious in various poor countries. As can be deduced, the implications are so intense that they are no less than the current situation on the Ukrainian battlefields, with the large number of deaths and displaced persons that the Russian invasion has generated. What risks materializing is a number of victims even much higher than those of the calculation of the special military operation; in this sad count must, in fact, be included those who died from food shortages, those due to the effects of hygienic and sanitary conditions resulting from malnutrition, those relating to the probable popular uprisings due to lack of food and, finally, the victims of migration caused by the impossibility to feed. Therefore, if Moscow is to answer to the international courts for the atrocities committed by its soldiers, it will also have to answer in the same offices that it was the cause of having starved millions of people, with all the consequences set out above. While realizing that the world chancelleries are focusing on crimes on Ukrainian territory, the question of the responsibility to starve poor countries does not seem to be treated adequately and with the right relevance. In parallel with the necessary military aid to Kiev, Western countries need to start thinking about strategies that can allow the Ukrainian country to export what they have managed to produce and collect, integrating with food aid the countries that will be most affected by the food famine. : this with the dual purpose of canceling or at least mitigating the effects of Putin’s strategy, averting the negative effects on European countries and creating the conditions to effectively combat hunger in the world. This will also serve to give a new image of the West to counter Russian and Chinese actions in African countries.