Ukraine: Russia strikes Odesa port after agreeing grain deal
Vladimir Putin is plotting to trigger a “global crisis” by targeting Ukraine’s export infrastructure, and the increasingly isolated Russian President is trying to buy friends by offering to supply allies with grain exports, a UK-based academic has said.
John Bryson, Professor of Enterprise and Economic Geography at the University of Birmingham, was writing at the end of a week which has seen Putin step up attacks on Ukrainian ports aimed at preventing exports of grain. Russia pulled the plug on the Black Sea grain deal last month.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said it would only rejoin if “concrete results” were achieved to protect Russian agricultural exports
Prof Bryson said: “Putin’s decision to leave the UN-brokered grain export arrangement is another indicator of the value that the Kremlin places on human life. This is another paradoxical decision.”
On the one hand, Russia was now deliberately targeting Ukraine’s grain storage and export infrastructure, Prof Bryson pointed out.
READ MORE: Mad Putin’s plan to turn Ukraine conflict into global catastrophe – John Bryson[COMMENT]
He explained: “This is civilian infrastructure, and moreover it is infrastructure that plays a critical role in world food markets and in feeding some of the most vulnerable people living on this planet.
“There is a form of madness here as Putin has decided to weaponise food and perhaps his plan is to create a global food crisis.
“On the other hand, it is important to explore which countries benefited the most from the Black Sea grain deal.
“The answer is perhaps surprising – China.”
Ukraine exported 7.9 million tonnes of grain – or just under a quarter of the grain involved in the Black Sea initiative – to its longstanding ally, Prof Bryson said.
He continued: “Putin’s decision to prevent grain from being exported from Ukraine to China raises some interesting questions regarding the special relationship that is supposed to exist between these countries.”
Putin’s war with Ukraine had also resulted in Russia being increasingly isolated in terms of international affairs, Prof Bryson argued.
He said: “Putin is trying to address this isolation by trying to make friends.
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“This process includes his intention that Russia “will be ready to provide Burkina Faso, Zimbabwe, Mali, Somalia, Central African Republic and Eritrea with 25-50,000 tonnes of free grain each in the next three to four months.
“There is a problem here in that Putin’s offer of between 150,000 and 300,000 tonnes of grain does not compensate for the 750,000 tonnes of Ukrainian grain that was purchased by the World Food Programme (WFP) and shipped immediately to countries like Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, and Sudan.”
The WFP is the largest humanitarian organisation in the world, and not controlled by a single nation, but rather established by the United Nations.
Prof Bryson said: “There is the obvious tension here in that Putin states that he is against the application of power and influence to subjugate other countries, but then offers ‘free food’ to some countries and yet free food always comes with strings attached.
“Evidently, Putin favours colonialism but also practices neo-colonialism.
“Putin’s rhetoric regarding his vision of a new multipolar world must be treated with caution.
“Putin’s imaginary new world has much in common with George Orwell’s novel Animal Farm in that all nations would be equal.
“But Russia would be more equal than others.”
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