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Russian President Vladimir Putin is planning to force the West to end its sanctions by causing a widespread famine, Yale historian Timothy Snyder argues.
Snyder, a Levin professor of history at Yale University, pointed to Russia’s ongoing blockade of Ukrainian grain, which shows no signs of stopping. Ukraine is a major global producer of grain, supplying mainly Middle Eastern and Asian countries.
Snyder argues that Putin’s plan is not only to destabilize Ukraine by cutting off exports but also destabilize the European Union by generating “refugees from North Africa and the Middle East, areas usually fed by Ukraine.”
“When the food riots begin, and as starvation spreads, Russian propaganda will blame Ukraine, and call for Russia’s territorial gains in Ukraine to be recognized, and for all sanctions to be lifted,” Snyder concluded.
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The United Nations is currently negotiating with Russia to allow Ukraine to export its grain supplies, which are currently backlogged. The loss of exports from the country has already exacerbated food shortages in some areas of the world.
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The U.S. is deeply skeptical of Russia’s intentions in the negotiations, however, given the Russian military’s repeated targeting of such food supplies.
“It’s hard to view the Russian offers in good faith considering how they are actively and intentionally destroying food products in Ukraine and exacerbating global food insecurity,” a U.S. official told Politico last week.
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Russia is currently holding a blockade on Ukraine’s port of Odesa, causing a backlog of roughly 20 million tons of grain.