International Politics and Global Food Crisis: The Complexity of the Chessboard
On a September day in Sochi, a meeting between two influential world leaders, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Russia's Vladimir Putin, took place. The focal point of their discussion was a grain deal that had been previously brokered by the United Nations. This deal allowed Ukrainian grain to reach global markets, significantly mitigating the ongoing food crisis. However, Russia had withdrawn from this deal in July 2023, citing hindrances to its food and fertiliser exports.
Erdogan's objective was to convince Putin to reconsider Russia's withdrawal, proposing that Ukraine should ease its stance against Russia and increase grain exports to Africa. Despite Ukraine's Foreign Minister's firm stance, Putin indicated a possible return to the agreement, provided the West stops restricting Russian agricultural exports.
The outcome of these discussions held global implications, as Russia and Ukraine are significant contributors to the worldwide agricultural market. In 2023, Russia alone projected a grain harvest of 130 million tonnes, with 60 million tonnes available for export.
Adding another layer to the situation, Putin proposed supplying Turkey with up to 1 million tonnes of Russian grain at discounted prices for further distribution to countries in need. He also announced imminent plans to provide free grain to six African countries, a move with potential to significantly affect the global food crisis.
Simultaneously, regional tensions were escalating. Russia targeted Ukrainian export hubs, while Kyiv's forces retaliated against Moscow's naval ports and warships. Notably, a Russian drone attack significantly damaged a Ukrainian grain export hub on the Danube River. Amidst this tension, Ukrainian Defence Minister Oleksiy Reznikov resigned, following President Volodymyr Zelensky's call for new strategies to counter Russia's offensive.
In an unexpected development, Ihor Kolomoisky, a Ukrainian oligarch and supporter of Zelensky's 2019 presidential campaign, was arrested in a fraud investigation. This arrest was part of Ukraine’s ongoing anti-corruption drive, which has targeted several high-profile figures, aiming to improve Ukraine's standing on the Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index.
Adding to the turmoil, Ukraine's military intelligence chief, Kyrylo Budanov, reported a drone attack on an airbase in the Russian city of Pskov, launched from within Russia. This attack resulted in significant damage to Russia's ability to transport troops and equipment over long distances.
Further escalating tensions, Russia deployed the Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile, a next-generation weapon capable of carrying nuclear charges. Described as "invincible" by Putin, this missile's deployment adds a new dimension to the situation.
The global community now faces a complex international scenario. The potential revival of the grain deal, the escalating regional tensions, Ukraine's anti-corruption drive, and the deployment of the Sarmat missile all play crucial roles in this international chessboard. These events impact global food security, political stability, and the balance of power. As the world watches, it becomes increasingly evident that the stakes are high, and the game is far from over.
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