Putin’s Pre-Invasion Starvation Strategy for Ukraine
In the nearly two years since I began reporting on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the unfolding events have consistently been complex and multifaceted. Just when it seems that the Kremlin’s strategists have reached the depths of their depravity, they invariably find new ways to astonish and challenge my understanding.
A breakthrough study by Global Rights Compliance (GRC), a human rights law firm based in London, has provided critical insights into Kremlin’s effort to weaponize food and starve Ukraine.
The initial missile attacks on Ukrainian grain warehouses seemed to be mere power projections, especially following Russia’s withdrawal from the Black Sea Grain Initiative in July this year.
Four days after Russia withdrew from the Black Sea Grain Initiative, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken tore into Kremlin’s strategy in an interview with MSNBC. He noted that following Russia’s withdrawal from the agreement with the United Nations and Turkey, which was intended to ensure the safe transport of Ukrainian grains, Russia commenced daily attacks on grain warehouses.
Secretary Blinken offered additional insights that, in my opinion, provide greater clarity on Russia’s approach.
“Russia by weaponizing food is doing something truly unconscionable. Through this period when the initiative was working that 35 million tons (of wheat exported by Ukraine) equates to about 18 billion loafs of bread. Imagine what that means, every single day to people living in the developing world. So, I hope that the world is watching this and seeing how cynically Russia is manipulating food in order to advance its objectives in Ukraine”.
As these costly attacks persisted, destroying grain warehouses and accumulating expenses in the tens of millions, it raised critical questions about Russia’s strategic intentions.
Why target grain storage facilities instead of more critical Ukrainian infrastructure? This seemed…