Global Affairs

The remaking of Ukraine

Even as the country is engaged in a life-and-death struggle with Russia, pressing existential questions loom on the horizon, along with a massive food crisis

Destroyed facilities of Azovstal Iron and Steel Works in Mariupol, Ukraine, on May 22, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS
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It was known as one of the world's breadbaskets for its agricultural production. Ukraine regularly accounted for around a tenth of global wheat exports and almost half of all the world's exports of sunflower oil. Countries such as Indonesia, Turkey, Egypt and Pakistan depended on Ukrainian production for critical parts of their food supply chains.

Yet if the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues for just a few months longer, not only would Ukraine's chief customers face real food shortages, but also the nation that used to feed the world will itself need feeding. Ms Manal Fouani, the United Nations Development Programme's deputy resident representative to Ukraine, has estimated that an astonishing 90 per cent of the country's 44 million-strong population could fall below the internationally-defined poverty line; before the war began in February, that figure was just 2.5 per cent.

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