On July 26, the historic first meeting of the Ukraine-NATO Council formed at the Security Summit in Vilnius took place. The main topic of discussion was the situation regarding Russia’s attacks on Ukrainian ports, granaries and other actions involving the complete blocking of sea routes to Ukraine.
The Minister of Development of Communities, Territories and Infrastructure of Ukraine, Oleksandr Kubrakov, published a statement on this matter, which specifically stated the following:
“We jointly condemned Russia’s withdrawal from the Grain Initiative and targeted missile and drone attacks on the port infrastructure of southern Ukraine. Only in the last 9 days, as a result of Russian attacks, 26 port infrastructure facilities and 5 civilian ships were damaged and partially destroyed. The Russians are also restricting navigation in the area of the temporarily occupied Crimea and near the territorial waters of Bulgaria. With this, the Russian Federation blocks the movement of ships in the direction of seaports of Ukraine.“
Considering this, it is evident that the representatives of the Kremlin stopped covering up their intentions even with phantom “denazification” or “demilitarization” and exposed economic interests of its war against Ukraine.
A week ago, after Russia announced its withdrawal from the grain deal, the high-ranking United States and European Union officials made statements on this matter. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken expressed hope for Turkey’s leadership in resolving the situation:
“We expect Turkey to play the role it has already played, a leadership role, to get things back on track and make sure people around the world can get the food they need at reasonable prices,” Blinken said.
US State Secretary depicted Russia’s actions as “cynical manipulation of food to achieve goals in Ukraine.”
For his part, Turkish President Recep Erdogan announced that he plans to meet with the Russian dictator Putin and discuss ways to solve the grain blockade. We will find out whether this dialogue can ever help soon.
Russia’s blockage and missile attacks on Ukrainian ports were discussed in the European Union; here is what the head of European diplomacy, Josep Borrell alerted on the consequences.
“And the fact that every ship will be considered military and a target for Russia’s military activities is a further step to continue to prevent Ukraine from exporting grain. This has two consequences. The first is for Ukraine, the deprivation of its resources. The second is for the rest of the world, which is deprived of critically important raw materials. Speaking about a critically important raw material, grain is such a raw material,” Borrell said.
According to him, Russian escalation of the conflict will lead to an increase in military aid to Ukraine and a strengthening of its air defence forces.
“There is only one solution here – to increase military support to Ukraine. They are being bombed, and we must provide them with anti-aircraft capabilities. If the Russians are using drones, we must provide anti-aircraft capabilities to destroy them. They destroy them, but the massive attacks over the past three nights demand our response. And the answer can be only one – apart from rhetoric, provision of large military resources”, believes the chief of the EU diplomacy.
What do Russians want? Moscow’s true goal
To put it simply, Russians want to cause economic damage to Ukraine. Export routes blockage and destruction of Ukrainian ports, and attacks on grain warehouses cause harm to Ukraine’s economy.
With the possibility to export products, Ukrainians will be able to fulfil contracts and avoid financial losses. In contrast, any change in the export route of grain or other goods means an increase in cost and complications for trade.
It is no secret that the Russians, having occupied Ukrainian territories, among other things, seized land where wheat is grown, agricultural machinery and grain stocks. In this context, Putin’s statements about his intentions to give grain to some African countries for free look incredibly cynical. At what cost is this gesture of the Kremlin dictator?
Make more money eliminating a competitor
In the last decade, Ukraine has been among the ten largest grain producers in the world, succeeding in this niche and having stable sales markets. For example, countries such as Pakistan and Lebanon imported Ukrainian grain at 59% and 62%, respectively. With Ukrainian ports blocked by Russian troops, these countries might look for alternative options, including Russian grain import.
For Russian grain traders, this situation is an opportunity to increase sales, get new markets and increase production, which is not subject to sanctions, as it is considered a basic need for people.
Raise stakes and sway the world to comply with Russia’s demands
Despite the desire of the Russians to grab easy prey in the form of artificially created demand, it is technically, if possible, tough to cover all the needs that Ukrainian grain satisfies. In any case, this will increase the cost of grain and the related consequences of price increases for several derivatives and associated products.
If we simplify this to a logical chain, we will see “more expensive bread” = “more hungry population” = “increased instability”. Western countries understand this and are forced to find a way out of the Russia-created grain crisis.
Considering the statement mentioned above by the head of the European Commission, the approach of more military aid to Ukraine to strengthen its defence will be maintained for the time being, which is currently the only way to understand the relationship between the Russian aggressors and the Free world.