One of Putin's never-before-seen weapons: global artificial famine

(To David Rossi)

Yesterday, on the sidelines of the visit of the speaker of the American lower house, Nancy Pelosi, Jim McGovern, a long-time member of the Democratic Party but also a bipartisan figure on the issue of world hunger, spoke: together with the Republican Bob Dole, A former White House candidate, twenty years ago he created a food program for school and preschool children in developing countries. For this experience, it is worthwhile to understand why he followed Pelosi in her visit to Ukraine but above all what her concern is. He argued, at the end of the trip, that the United States - in addition to continuing to finance international organizations such as the United Nations World Food Program - must "Find a way to help Ukrainians establish a humanitarian corridor that will allow them to ship food by sea, to help the poorest people in the world, so they don't starve".

It is the first time that the US has spoken of a breakup, by the Ukrainian side, of the naval blockade imposed by Russia off the coast of Ukraine in the Black Sea: they do so through a highly regarded politician and because, according to him, Putin's brutal war is no longer just a war against the Ukrainian people but also a direct war against the most vulnerable in the world and will lead to an increased risk of starvation of millions of people.

Ukraine is, as the stones also know by now and as our Andrea Forte (read article), the granary of the world as it provides proteins and fats - in the form of wheat, corn, sunflower oil etc. - to the countries of all continents, especially in Africa and the Middle East. It also supplies food, in important quantities, to relief organizations, as well as to the same World food program of the United Nations.

Well, for weeks there have been reports of Russian bombings involving the destruction of grain deposits throughout Ukraine, particularly in the fertile plains of the south and east of the country. No, it is not about crazy bombs or the chronic lack of precision of the attacks by Russian forces: the Kremlin is definitely aiming at the destruction of the Ukrainian agricultural logistic chain. But he doesn't stop there. There are dozens of videos taken by private citizens showing vehicles of the Russian armed forces engaged, since the end of April, in the transfer of foodstuffs kept in the oblasts occupied by Moscow troops to Russian territory. Fertilizers and agricultural machinery, which were forcibly taken from Ukrainian companies, were also reported to have been brought to Russia. If these images make Ukrainians shiver, as they bring to mind the memories of the Holodomor, when Moscow decided to clean up the steppes between Ukraine and Kazakhstan by means of an artificial famine, they remind the rest of the world of the horse. black of the Apocalypse, the one that evokes the terror of scarcity of food.

The fear of many is that, if Putin's war continues, the Kremlin will strike the fields with incendiary devices or chemical weapons to devastate crops at harvest time, but also to render them useless for future use.

As revealed in many interviews with "Putin's advisers", expertly released from the Kremlin at the rate of one a week in the international media after the withdrawal from Kiev, the ultimate goal is not just the occupation of a substantial part of Ukrainian territory, but to make the rest of the country dependent and economically handicapped. Moscow has no qualms about destroying the infrastructures of the occupied territories - with the prospect of becoming annexed territories - a sign that the goal is to create a buffer zone, not necessarily of any economic value, using directly controlled Ukraine for this purpose and the "dependent" one.

Hitting agricultural land and preventing - provisionally or permanently - its use for the production of foodstuffs may be functional for this purpose, but it will also be one of the "never seen weapons" Putin spoke of: deprived of food produced in Ukraine, millions of Africans and Asians will pour into Europe and the United States between the second half of 2022 and the first of 2023 - but above all on our continent, given the extension of the maritime border -, causing damage comparable to a lost war.

In this scenario, the creation of corridors, suggested by McGovern, for the transit of Ukrainian agricultural products for export and humanitarian organizations cannot be based only on Putin's "cub word": this gentleman has amply demonstrated that he is not be credible and lie to your heart's content. In short, the creation of "agreed" corridors seems to be a necessary but not sufficient measure: it will be necessary to provide Ukraine with the weapons to guarantee the safety of future crops from air and missile attacks, as well as the tools for their storage and transport in complete safety.

Eventually, it may also be necessary to allow them to impose these corridors, assuming that Russia did the same with them as with the corridors for the transit of refugees: now I let you pass, soon I'll shoot you (and in this case I destroy the crop). Avoid a global man-made catastrophic famine, a new one holodomor but on a world scale, it seems sufficient justification for any action ...