Ukraine faces winter food shortages – economist
Ukraine may face food shortages this winter due to disproportionate grain exports under a UN-brokered deal that can offset massive debts for weapons and aid. That’s according to economist Yegor Klopenko, founder of the ITLEADERS venture investors club, who spoke to the news agency Prime on Friday.
Ukraine’s debt to the West grew by $70-100 billion just in the first half of the year, according to Klopenko’s estimates. He is certain that Ukraine will never be able to repay this money. Instead, it is bartering its grain in an effort to ensure more aid in the future.
“As a result, Ukraine may have problems with food, as the authorities there are ready to give the West everything without thinking about the population,” he says.
More than 2.3 million tons of corn, wheat, barley and other agricultural products were reportedly exported through the Black Sea corridor from Ukraine between August 1 and September 7. Spain’s El Pais newspaper on Thursday reported that at least 38% of this grain is currently shipped to the EU instead of developing countries in Africa for which it was intended.
“In turn, Europe cannot admit publicly that Ukrainian grain will end up on the tables of Europeans and not in starving Africa,” the expert states, adding that he thinks that, thanks to Russia’s help, the food situation in Africa will not be as severe as it could have been. Russia is expected to have a record harvest this year, and he believes its grain will go to African countries, driven by the EU’s reluctance to lift sanctions on Russian exports.
According to Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, the part of the Ukraine food deal that concerns the export of Russian products has not been implemented, which could lead to the termination of the entire deal by Moscow.
Klopenko says that while Russia, the EU, Africa and the Middle East all seem to have sources for grain supplies, Ukraine may be the only country facing food shortages come winter.
For more stories on economy & finance visit RT's business section