UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned that “the world is facing dangerous times”, as the Ukraine crisis becomes severe.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the launch of a special military operation in the Donbas region and urged Ukrainian soldiers to lay down their arms. “The situation made us take decisive and immediate action,” Putin said, insisting the two self-proclaimed republics in eastern Ukraine had called on Russia to support.
“I have seen the possibility of a conflict lasting months or even years,” said Paul Kolbe, Director of the Intelligence Project at Harvard Kennedy School and Former Director of the Central Asia-Europe CIA.
(Ukraine Military Photo on Feb 16th 2022)
The phantom of a full-scale military operation into Ukraine is raising concerns about widespread conflict causing price escalation. This will lead to a serious humanitarian crisis and economic disruption on over the world.
“If Russia continues this direction, we estimate it could create a new refugee crisis, one of the biggest crises the world is facing now,” US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield said at the UN meeting on February 23rd.
Ms. Thomas-Greenfield also said that Russia’s attack on Ukraine could leave about three million people directly affected by Russia’s military action in eastern Ukraine and another five million people evacuate.
According to Alan Holland, CEO and founder of Keelvar technology firm in Ireland, Ukraine is considered as “the granary of Europe” so a military conflict would make the food supply severely impacted
Analysts say that Europe is largely dependent on Ukraine’s wheat, barley, and rye. This country is also the world’s largest producer of corn.
“Although the harvest is a few months away, the prolonged conflict will lead to bread shortages and price increases in the fall,” Holland warned.
Not only is Europe affected, many countries in the Middle East and South Africa are also dependent on Ukraine’s wheat and corn resources. Supply disruptions will impact food security in these areas, according to Dawn Tiura, President of the Sourcing Industry Group in the US.
“China is Ukraine’s major importer of corn after it surpassed the US to become China’s leading supplier in 2021,” she said.
US Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield warned that Russian military activity could spike food prices and lead to severe famine in places like Libya, Yemen, and Lebanon.
Observers point out that Russia is the world’s leading exporter of wheat. Along with Ukraine, both countries account for about 29% of the global wheat export market.
“A war will cause a food and energy crisis. Emerging market countries, especially Turkey, Egypt, and Lebanon, depend heavily on wheat from Russia and Ukraine. These countries are facing high inflation. The poor are the biggest victims, “said Dan Wang, chief economist of Hang Seng Bank in Shanghai, China.
What makes many people concerned more is the impact on the energy supply. “If you talk about a major conflict involving one of the world’s largest energy suppliers and a major European transit country, there must be a significant impact on the energy market,” said Nigel Gould-Davies, a former British ambassador to Belarus and now a senior member about Russia and Eurasia of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).
The conflict is causing the price of oil to keep rising. Oil price is now above US$100 per barrel, a high level never seen in over seven years. Bank of America researchers expect the oil price to rise by US$20 per barrel if the tension continues to escalate.
“If Russia’s oil supply is blocked by sanctions, Asia as a typical net importer of oil will feel the heat from higher energy import costs,” said Howie Lee, an economist of OCBC Bank in Singapore.
Not only have they brought serious socio-economic impacts, but the conflict in Ukraine is also believed to have a significant impact on global geopolitics, according to experts.
“NATO will not intervene militarily so it is unlikely that the conflict will spread beyond Ukraine,” Carl Schuster, a former executive director at the US Pacific Command Joint Intelligence Center and now a lecturer at the US University of Hawaii Pacific, told VnExpress. “Putin, however, has just created a new Cold War in Europe, causing a tensile atmosphere and instability unseen since the 1950s.”
Observers said that the impact of the conflict even extends beyond Europe.
According to expert Schuster, Putin’s actions have seriously damaged the credibility of the US and NATO. “Both sides promised to support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity if this country transferred nuclear weapons to them. Ukraine did so and many believed that Russia will not attack Kyiv if there are no more nuclear weapons, ” he said.
The conflict can also affect the world’s efforts to fight against nuclear proliferation, according to the American expert. “Countries like North Korea will look to the story of Ukraine and Libya to account for the retention of nuclear weapons,” Schuster said.
Observers said that China, which has a close relationship with Russia, will not be out of being influenced.
“This is a very unfavorable situation that China is suddenly dragged into by Russia,” Wu Qiang, an independent political analyst in Beijing, said. “It is possible that China will lose its current friendly relationship with Europe. China and the US may soon fall into a confrontation because of the close alliance between Beijing and Moscow. China has so far not shown a willingness to stop the war. ”
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said that Russia “does not invade Ukraine” and Moscow has the right to make decisions based on their benefits.
“It is time to contain, rationalize and reduce escalation,” Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at the UN meeting on February 23rd, emphasizing that there is no room for actions or statements that “bring the current dangerous situation into an abyss.”