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Turning food into a weapon: How Russia resorted to one of the oldest forms of warfare

By Julian Borger

09 Aug 2023 · 7 min read

informed Summary

  1. Russia has launched a food war against Ukraine, blocking grain exports through the Black Sea and directly targeting food supplies. That led to a 10% rise in the global cereal price index in late July.

After failing to conquer Ukraine by conventional means, Russia tried an energy war, trying to hobble the power grid and freeze the nation into submission. Now it has launched a food war.

The mining of the Kakhovka dam in June threatens to turn southern Ukrainian farmland into a dustbowl. Since Moscow pulled out of an UN-brokered deal to allow Ukrainian grain exports through the Black Sea last month, it has announced a naval blockade of the country’s ports, and directly targeted food (destroying 220,000 tonnes of cereals awaiting export in silos) on the sea coast but also inland with attacks over the past two weeks on the Danube ports of Reni and Izmail.

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