Ukraine surprised the whole world with its resilience against the militarily superior Russia. But the defenders have a major weakness: the Black Sea. The Russians were able to set up a naval blockade there early on.
Because the Ukrainian navy is rather weak, the invaders are likely to retain control of the access to the sea for a long time. With this, Putin is dealing a hard blow to the economy in Ukraine. Before the war, a large part of Ukrainian exports took place via the Black Sea, as reported by “Welt”. Above all, agricultural products such as grain were important.
Failed to circumvent the naval blockade
However, not only Ukraine, but nations around the world now have a problem because of the Russian naval blockade. Before the war, Ukraine was the second largest grain exporter in the world, behind the USA, with 60 million tons. With this grain now blocked, if the situation remains the same, a global food crisis looms.
Saskia Kobelt from Unicef: These countries are threatened with famine(07:26)
At the end of April, Kyiv tried to circumvent the Russian naval blockade. Grain was brought to Romania by train and shipped from the ports there into the world. However, the Russians quickly recognized the maneuver and stopped it by specifically bombing an important connecting bridge in Odessa.
Western countries send anti-ship missiles
The Ukraine lacks the freight trains to shift grain exports completely to the rails and to transport them across the Polish border, for example. In addition, the EU has different track spacing than Ukraine. Thus, the entire transported goods would have to be reloaded.
So there is probably no way for Ukraine to export the grain. Many western countries have therefore now taken measures because they are dependent on the grain from Ukraine. So the British sent modern anti-ship missiles that can be used against the Russian battleships. Denmark also recently announced the delivery of a land-based Harpoon system.
Ex-Commander has solution
However, these arms deliveries are unlikely to be enough to restore the freedom of Ukrainian shipping. That’s why NATO could soon intervene. Because a number of NATO member states have an interest in the merchant ships from Ukraine sailing again.
This means that the defense alliance would not directly participate in the war. The former commander-in-chief of NATO, James Stavridis (67), explained in a comment on the information portal “Bloomberg”: “The Black Sea consists largely of international waters. NATO warships therefore have the right to go almost anywhere they want, including the territorial waters of Ukraine.”
NATO does not want to provoke Russia
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (73) also recently expressed the idea of creating a humanitarian corridor in the Black Sea. In this way one could prevent a food crisis in the Third World without intervening in the war.
So far, NATO has refrained from sending warships to the Black Sea so as not to provoke Russia. But with each passing day, the likelihood of a food crisis is increasing. NATO warships could soon be escorting Ukrainian merchant ships to protect them from Russian cruisers. (obf)