the daily stirrer

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The Daily Stirrer

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Zelensky Admits Ukraine Already Ran Out Of Ammo

Jingoistic Western Triumphalism Will Not End The War In Ukraine Or Cripple Putin, But It Is Crippling Western Nations

Even If The War In Ukraine Ends, Sanctions Will Stay - So How Bad Will The Food Crisis Get?

Western leaders, desperate to show their own countries they were taking a firm stance on Russia's invasion of Ukraine, were quick to impose economic sanctions ... so quick in fact that they acted before they had though things through. While freezing Russia out of the global finance system they have exacerbated the wests energy crisis, while Russia's retaliatory ban on raw materials (fertiliser) exports will create extra problems on top of those we already had ...

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the daily stirrer


Even If The War In Ukraine Ends, Sanctions Will Stay - So How Bad Will The Food Crisis Get?


We have posted in this blog two keynote articles and several shorter pieces in the past three weeks on the likely  catastrophic consequences for the world's food supply of Russia’s Ukraine incursion as the loss of Ukranian and Russian exports of wheat, maize and edible oils are lost. The war may end within a couple of week and for the sake of Ukranian people we have to hope that is the case. However while the shooting war is about local issues the economic war has much wider and more complex implications which means that the west's sanctions on Russian finance and retaliatory Russian bans on exports of agricultural produce, raw materials for commercial fetilizers (Russia produces two thirds of the world's ammonium nitrate according to some sources,) will therefore remain in place much longer.

Ukraine is the world’s fifth-largest exporter of wheat (Russia is largest,  followed by USA, Canada and France,) and at this time of year Ukrainian farmers ought to be seeding their fields in some of the richest soil in the world.  The best agricultural land in the country is unfortunately at the heart of the conflict zone and consistently under bombardment from air and ground. 

Ukrainian farmers like to tell the world they are a resilient, adaptable and innovative people but  they also know that in the current situation their our priorities must be different. And while Ukrane's agricultural communities prioritise  capturing Russian weapons, blowing up fuel convoys and allowing demoralised Russian soldiers to talk with their mothers.

In Odessa’s formerly bustling docks of Ukraine’s main port  are now still, the approaches to the harbour blockaded by Moscow's Black Sea fleet.

The grain and corn stored in huge silos on the farm where where Svitlana Sirko (below) works should at this time of year be on their way to the dock for export. Along with countless others across the huge country, this medium-sized farm with 20 labourers contributes to Ukraine’s reputation as the breadbasket of Europe. After harvestwait exporting in late summer up to 10,000 tonnes can be stored in the silo to await export. This year it must stay there because no ships can enter or leave the port.

Farm administrator Svitlana Sirko, like many Ukrainian agriculture workers, has found her work curtailed by the war
Farm administrator Svitlana Sirko, like many Ukrainian agriculture workers, has found her work curtailed by the war Credit: Simon Townsley for The Telegraph

The Ukraine war has contributed a trio of economic crises for the wider world, a dearth of wheat and other staple foods, rocketing fuel prices (due in part to the failure of green energy sources and the idiocy of 'net zero' committments,) and the ban on exporting raw materials for fertiliser products which will cause reduced yields across all this year's harvests. 

And the economic bad news does not end there. Because of its vast area Russia with Siberia hosts many other natural resources essential to high tech industries, metal bashing industries and agriculture. The world faces a commodity catastrophe with oil, gas, coal and agricultural chemicals prices all spiralling higher together, with metals catching up fast. It is a problem not just for central bankers but for all of us.

A statement from Roman Leshchenko Ukraine’s agriculture and food minister said that while export blocks had been placed on badly needed commodities like beef, sugar, salt and millet, the country still wanted to export wheat and corn. Yet that had been made nearly impossible by a blockade of Ukraine’s southern ports by the Russian navy. March, April, May and June should be the peak export months, but instead the ships are stationary and the terminals closed. 

It looks as if 2022 is going to be an even rougher ride than '20 and '21.

Ukraine: Big Push To End The War

Source: Moon of Alabama

Over Christmas I had a short talk with a relative about the war in Ukraine. He asked me who would win and was astonished when I said: "Ukraine has zero chance to win." That person reads some German mainstream news sites and watches the public TV networks. With those sources of 'information' he was made to believe that Ukraine was winning the war. One may excuse that with him never having been in a military and not being politically engaged. But still there are some basic numbers that let one conclude from the beginning that Russia, the much bigger, richer and more industrialized country, had clearly all advantages. 
My relative obviously never had had that thought. The 'western' propaganda is still quite strong. However, as I pointed out in March last year propaganda does not change a war and lies do not win it. Its believability is shrinking. Former Lt.Col. Alex Vershinin, who in June pointed out that industrial warfare is back and the 'West' was not ready to wage it, has a new recommendable piece out which analyses the tactics on both sides, looks ahead and concludes that Russia will almost certainly win the war: 
Wars of attrition are won through careful husbandry of one’s own resources while destroying the enemy’s. Russia entered the war with vast materiel superiority and a greater industrial base to sustain and replace losses. They have carefully preserved their resources, withdrawing every time the tactical situation turned against them. Ukraine started the war with a smaller resource pool and relied on the Western coalition to sustain its war effort. This dependency pressured Ukraine into a series of tactically successful offensives, which consumed strategic resources that Ukraine will struggle to replace in full, in my view. 
The real question isn’t whether Ukraine can regain all its territory, but whether it can inflict sufficient losses on Russian mobilized reservists to undermine Russia’s domestic unity, forcing it to the negotiation table on Ukrainian terms, or will Russian’ attrition strategy work to annex an even larger portion of Ukraine. Russian domestic unity has only grown over the war. As Gilbert Doctorow points out wars make nations. The war does not only unite certain nationalistic parts of Ukraine who still dream of retaking Crimea. It also unites all of Russia. Continue reading >>>