Joe Biden’s ‘dream to see Putin fall’ could tilt conflict into ‘total, endless war’
The US President is planning to send over anti-ship missiles to Ukrainian fighters as the Russian invasion rumbles on. While already receiving thousands of weapons from NATO countries, including the US, such as Javelin and Stinger missiles, Kyiv has requested more weapons to bat away Russian ships from its ports. It comes as the blockade of Black Sea ports, the country’s main export routes, has slashed shipments of grain wheat, corn and oils.
About 20 Russian Navy vessels, including submarines, are reportedly in the Black Sea
Antony Blinken, the US secretary of state, said: “The food supply for millions of Ukrainians, and millions more around the world, has quite literally been held hostage by the Russian military.”
But Russia has said it will only move the blockade if the West drops its harsh sanctions.
The move has sparked fears of a European food crisis, forcing ministers to meet today (May 20) to discuss measures to tackle the looming threat.
But the Russian President is also plotting a deadly strategy of mining cornfields in Ukraine.
Biden is hoping to help Ukraine end Putin’s plot to starve millions by sending anti-ship missiles
Russian ships are blockading the port at Odesa
Ukrainian farmers have already started reporting that Russian soldiers have forced them to flee their land.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Agriculture now says that 30 percent of the country’s farmland is occupied or unsafe.
Grains have reportedly got stuck at makeshift silos across the country.
And a particularly big build-up of Russian navy ships is said to be occurring at port city Odesa.
The Russian army has also reportedly left naval mines for ships that try to sneak past the blockade.
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Kyiv will be hoping the US anti-ship missiles can blast away Russia’s blockade
But Kyiv will be hoping Mr Biden’s Harpoon and Naval Strike Missiles can blast those ships away.
According to three US officials and two congressional sources, the US is considering sending these two types of powerful anti-ship missiles to Ukraine.
It may also transfer the weapons through a European ally that also has these weapons.
But problems stand in the way, such as limited availability of platforms to launch Harpoons from shore.
According to officials, this is a challenge as the missiles are largely sea-based.
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The blockade could spark wheat shortages
If the US’ lethal aid cannot reach or Ukraine or does not help the country fend off the blockade, it could be catastrophic.
Dubbed the “breadbasket of Europe”, there are fears Putin’s horror plot could not only spark a crisis on the continent, but across the globe.
Several countries in the Middle East and Africa also rely on Russia and Ukraine for agricultural exports.
This includes Egypt, which has been forced to become one of the largest wheat importers due to the impacts of climate change, getting around 80 percent of this product from Ukraine and Russia.
The fields along the River Nile only produce a third of the country’s own consumption
There is also a fertiliser shortage
Ukrainian farmers are also struggling to find fertilizer to grow new crops as shortages have emerged.
All these factors mean that Ukraine is expected to harvest up to 50 percent less this year, according to Politico.
And even the lower harvests might stay restricted to Ukraine if the Russian blockade remains intact.
Senior adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s chief of staff, Sergii Leshchenko, said: “This year, we’re going to have much less harvest…but it’s important to [have a harvest], at least to cover internal needs.”
Mr Leshchenko said the country is trying to work its way around the blockade by opening up new export routes to the West via train and from small ports along the Danube River.
But he warned that this will not make up for the blocked Black Sea.
He said: “There is still [a] bottleneck for proper export of Ukrainian food
“It’s impossible without making the Odesa region work properly.”
Now, leaders fear massive famines in the most reliant countries.
EU development ministers are considering an initiative to boost Ukrainian exports via rail, and will float ramping up food aid for struggling countries.