In six months, Putin’s “military special operation” has claimed the lives of at least 5,000 civilians, according to the latest data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. The use of long-range explosive weapons, such as heavy artillery, rockets or airstrikes, has caused the majority of recorded deaths.
The agency also warns that the numbers could be “significantly higher” as they lack information on the areas where hostilities have reached greater intensity, such as Mariupol, Izium, Lisichansk, Popasna and Severodonetsk.
Since the invasion began, nearly a third of Ukrainians have been displaced from their homes, according to UNHCR. Those who stay in the country face scarcity of basic resources such as water, food or medicine; and in many cases they lack basic infrastructure such as hospitals — with more than 100 health centers that were completely destroyed by the end of July, according to Ukraine’s Health Ministry — or electricity supply.
In this regard, more than 6 million citizens have left Ukraine to seek protection in other countries. In the early stages of the conflict, they were mainly distributed to neighboring countries, most notably Poland, where almost 20% of the displaced remain. Over the months and with the relaxation of migration policies in the rest of Europe, refugees have reached the Nordic countries, the Mediterranean and even the United States or Canada.
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Before the conflict, Spain had a census of 107,000 people with Ukrainian citizenship, 60% spread across Madrid, Catalonia and the Valencian Community. From February 24 to last Wednesday (latest available data), more than 133,000 refugees have arrived in the country.
A woman and her daughter board a train from Pokrovsk in the Donetsk region to Dnipro and Lviv on June 18. GLEB GARANICH (Portal)
The Battle of Sanctions
Before the conflict began, and with the annexation of Crimea as a starting point, the European Union and other countries and international organizations began imposing sanctions on Russia. The 27’s use of these measures tripled after the invasion: at this point the list includes 1,129 individuals and 11 sanctioned organizations. This includes oligarchs, the military, politicians, corporations and institutions like the Central Bank of Russia. The goal is to strain Russia’s economy and the maneuvering room of those who can help advance the invasion.
After a first wave of asset freezes by Russian oligarchs around the world and blocking of Russia’s trade relations with foreign countries, the most discussed sanctions were those aimed at the country’s role in the global energy market. In addition to the imposition of restrictions on the import of machines in this sector, which is important for the Russian economy, a blockade on the purchase of crude oil from the country has been established, which will come into force next year, and for which the whole of Europe is already preparing. The crisis caused by these measures and their impact on prices are also contributing to the fact that Russia itself is cutting gas supplies to the European continent.
In addition to measures of this type, which are also part of the strategy of the United Kingdom, the United States or Canada, more than 1,000 foreign companies have stopped or restricted their activities in Russia since February, according to Yale University.
A global barn that has been reduced to rubble
The war blocked Ukraine’s participation in a market where it was essential. The country, which uses seven out of ten hectares of its land as arable land and spends 70% of its production on exports, now collides with a coastline full of mines that can blow up its boats, steal supplies through Russia and damage millionaires’ farms, Fields and even storage facilities.
According to a recent FAO estimate, destruction of agricultural infrastructure has caused losses of between $4,300 and $6,400 million, and this year’s production could fall to 60% of last year’s production. But even this reduced harvest could remain, not only outside the international market, but in the silos, where they would have to await import. In May, 14% of grain stores had been damaged.
The creation of a safe channel for the transit of grain ships from Ukrainian ports made it possible to slowly empty these reserves. On August 9, twelve ships had managed to remove around 370,000 tons of corn, soybeans and sunflower seeds. Three million were still waiting at the docks and it is estimated that the country as a whole is amassing another 20 million from last year’s production, to which should be added the harvest now underway.
Outside of Ukraine, these obstacles have left less resourced countries like Tunisia, Libya or Egypt without a key supplier to supply them, and on a global scale the prices of products like oils, legumes and flour have skyrocketed, which translates to the increase the cost of products containing these ingredients.
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