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Russia’s Strike on Ukraine’s Grain Ports Spurs Wheat Prices Surge and Heightens Regional Tensions

02-08-2023 :Russia launched an attack on Ukraine’s vital grain port facilities, leading to a surge in wheat prices and intensifying concerns over food security. The incident occurred on July 17, when Russia withdrew from the Black Sea grain deal, allowing Ukraine to export grain through the port of Odesa. In the early hours of the morning, Russian forces utilized Shahed drones to strike several grain ports, including the inland port of Izmail.

As a result of the attack, fires broke out at the port facilities and industrial infrastructure, causing damage to an elevator. Fortunately, no casualties were reported, but the impact on Ukraine’s grain exports and global food security remains a significant concern. Ukraine’s Danube river ports, which account for about a quarter of its grain exports, were also targeted in the attacks, leading to further damage to a grain silo in the Danube port of Izmail.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned the attacks, calling them a threat to global food security and accusing Russia of targeting grain and essential infrastructure. In addition to the grain port facilities, other cities like Kherson and Kyiv also experienced attacks, with reports of casualties and damage to civilian properties.

In response to escalating tensions in the region, Poland announced plans to bolster its eastern border with additional troops, amid accusations of Belarusian helicopters violating Polish airspace. Poland informed NATO about the incident while Belarus denied the claim.

The repercussions of the attacks were felt on the international stage as well. Wheat prices surged by 4 per cent in Chicago, and corn prices rose by 2 per cent, directly impacting the global grain market. The United Nations had previously warned of potential food crises and hunger in the world’s poorest countries following Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea grain deal.

Ukrainian authorities have reported that since July 17, Russia has targeted 26 port facilities, five civilian vessels, and approximately 180,000 tonnes of grain. These relentless attacks have already impacted Ukraine’s grain exports, with a 40 per cent decline in July compared to June.

Efforts to find a resolution to the crisis have seen limited progress. Russia reportedly expressed its willingness to negotiate a new deal with the US that would facilitate the safe export of Ukraine’s grain from the Black Sea. However, no tangible evidence of these discussions has been seen yet, leaving the situation precarious and unresolved.

As the international community closely monitors the situation, there are heightened concerns about the potential for further conflict, disruption to global food supplies, and the impact on innocent civilian lives. The urgent need for a peaceful resolution remains paramount to avert a humanitarian and economic catastrophe in the region.