The Russian invasion of Ukraine has certainly not gone according to Vladimir Putin’s plan, as we wade into the third month of a war that he believed would last but three days.
In the process, the world has gotten a revealing look at the state of the Kremlin’s military as well, and let’s just say that their place in the global pecking order has been adjusted forthright.
So now, as things turn truly desperate, it appears as though Putin is going to try the old “hold the world’s food supply hostage” trick.
Russia will lift its blockade of the Black Sea and once again allow grain to be exported from Ukraine once Western nations lift sanctions, the country’s Deputy Foreign Minister has said.
With millions of tons of grain stuck in Ukraine due to Russia blockading the Black Sea, Western powers have been formulating various plans and schemes to get food exports once again flowing out of Ukraine.
The Kremlin had no qualms about saying the quiet part out loud, either.
However, the Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia, Andrei Rudenko, has made clear the restriction of the food supply is a power play by Moscow, saying the flow of food so badly needed by the developing world will only resume once sanctions are lifted on Russia.
According to a report by Russian state news agency Interfax, Rudenko said that Moscow was “ready for dialogue” regarding allowing the export of food from Ukraine, but that an agreement on the issue could only be reached via concessions from the West.
“We have repeatedly commented on the matter [of grain exports] and said that a resolution of the food problem would require a comprehensive approach, including the lifting of sanctions imposed on Russian exports and financial transactions,” the agency reports Rudenko as saying, having also emphasised that Russia was supposedly ready to talk to anyone seeking “a peaceful resolution of all problems”.
“Russia is ready to provide the necessary humanitarian passage, as it is doing every day,” he went on to say.
Vladimir Putin may only have a few cards left to play, and it shows.