War in Ukraine, but in the world – hunger, migrants and a new nuclear arms race

War in Ukraine, but in the world - hunger, migrants and a new nuclear arms race

As Deutsche Welle analyzes, Russian aggression against our country has led to a new economic, migrant and energy crises, as well as the threat of world hunger.

A blow to the global economy

According to the BBC, the World Bank now expects the world economy to recover in 2022 by only 2.9 % against the previous forecast of growth by 4.1%. And these are gigantic sums, given that world GDP this year should exceed $100 trillion for the first time.

The world economy is cyclical: a boom is followed by a recession, then a recovery to another recession, and so on. Since World War II, the world has experienced half a dozen recessions, including the 2020 covid one. However, at no time has the recovery from a recession stumbled as quickly as it is now. The main reason is Russia's attack on Ukraine.

So far we are talking about braking, and not about a new recession. But if it comes to a recession, a new record will be recorded in the history of the world economy – the world has not known such a short period of wealth growth before a new recession for more than 80 years.

Recession awaits Ukraine and its neighbors

Europe and Central Asia are almost back on a pre-Covid prosperity trajectory in early 2022. But Russian aggression changed everything. “The Russian invasion has reversed this recovery, and in 2022 the region's economy will shrink by about 3%,” writes the World Bank, which back in January was expecting not a recession, but growth of 3%.

Moreover, the recession does not threaten everyone, but only Russia, Ukraine and 4 other countries of the former USSR: Belarus, Moldova, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

Ukraine's GDP, according to his calculations, will shrink by 45% in 2022 and will not recover. soon. “The consequences of the war will be felt far beyond the short-term forecast. It will leave deep scars on the body of the Ukrainian economy in the form of destroyed industries, scorched fields, depleted human resources,” World Bank economists write.

New influx of refugees to Europe

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, about 6.8 million Ukrainians have left their country, and another 7.7 million have become internally displaced persons. Over three million Ukrainians fled to neighboring countries: Poland, Romania, Moldova, Slovakia and Hungary. According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), today, in addition to Poland, which received the maximum number of refugees (3.5 million people), most Ukrainians are in Germany (727 thousand) and the Czech Republic (348 thousand). According to this organization, about 2 million Ukrainians have returned to their homeland, some residents of Ukraine, for various reasons, go home and return to the country where they found refuge.

But in countries that have accepted the maximum number of Ukrainian refugees, asylum systems are often overwhelmed, and Ukrainians have to wait a long time for all the necessary documents to be processed or to receive social assistance.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) reports that in 2022 alone, Europe will spend 26 billion euros on Ukrainian refugees. Two-thirds of this amount is the direct costs of reception and accommodation. About 9 billion euros more will be needed for additional funding for education and healthcare.

“The war in Ukraine led to a migration of the population of a historic scale, not seen since the Second World War. The number of refugees from Syria reached three million after two years of conflict, then how the same number fled from Ukraine in the first three weeks,” writes the OECD.

On the other hand, refugees from Ukraine will allow the EU and other developed countries of the West to partially compensate for the lack of labor. “The influx of Ukrainian refugees and Russian migrants, especially educated and skilled workers, is likely to have a positive effect on domestic demand and, in the medium term, on economic growth due to the growth of the working population,” the World Bank notes.

War led to an energy crisis

The war pushed up oil and gas prices, especially in Europe. Due to sanctions, self-restraint by Western traders, and energy blackmail by Russia, oil has risen in price by almost 4.5 times in nominal terms compared to depressed covid prices. The world has not known such a sharp jump since the biggest oil crisis of the 1970s.

But on February 24, the EU decided to gradually free itself from dependence on Russian energy carriers. “We simply cannot rely on a supplier who clearly threatens us,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in March.

Already in March, the European Commission announced its intention to completely stop deliveries of Russian fossil fuels to the EU by 2030 and announced plans to reduce Russian gas imports by two-thirds by the end of this year.

One of the points of this plan is to increase fuel reserves in gas storage facilities. Another temporary option is the import of liquefied natural gas, for example, from the United States. At the same time, some experts predict a shortage of gas and do not rule out the option of energy rationing.

The result of such high prices and the EU's reaction to the restriction of Russian supplies is obvious. If earlier Russia provided up to 40% of European gas demand, and in the covid 2021 this share slightly decreased to 35%, now it is already less than 25%.

War in Ukraine, but in the world - hunger, migrants and a new nuclear arms race

On June 4, Russia fired rockets at Nikolaev, hitting the specialized port of Nika-Tera, and on June 12, it destroyed the second largest grain terminal. Photo: REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

Famine threatens the world

Ukraine is the largest producer of sunflower oil, ranking first in the world in terms of its export. Ukrainian deliveries of this product, according to the research company Mintec, accounted for 47 percent of the world market before the war. Russian aggression in Ukraine has caused a global shortage of sunflower oil and provoked an increase in prices for other vegetable oils. At the end of March, world prices for sunflower oil increased by 44 percent compared to last year.

But Ukraine occupies an important place in the world in terms of exports not only of sunflower, but also of corn (15% of world trade) and wheat (10%). Russia's blocking of Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea has sharply reduced Ukrainian exports of grain and corn. This was especially acutely felt by the countries of Africa and the Middle East, which are directly dependent on Ukrainian supplies. However, the consequences could be even more dramatic.

Some experts fear that the Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports amid climate change-driven extreme weather and post-coronavirus economic turmoil greatly increases the threat of a global food crisis.< /p>

Nuclear arms race starts again

New data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) indicate that in the next decade the world is waiting for a new round of the nuclear arms race.

According to experts, all 9 states possessing nuclear weapons – Russia, the United States, China, France, Great Britain, Pakistan, India, Israel and North Korea are beginning to actively modernize their arsenal.

The total number of nuclear warheads, according to SIPRI, as of January 2022 was 12,705, of which 9,440 are active and potentially ready for military use. Compared to last year, this number has decreased slightly – in January 2021, there were 13,080 warheads. However, as experts emphasize, the decrease is due not to disarmament, but to the decommissioning by the United States and Russia of obsolete systems, which was planned several years ago. The number of active warheads has practically not changed over the year.

Moreover, SIPRI sees a change in the global trend. “There are clear signs that the reduction in nuclear arsenals that has taken place since the end of the Cold War is over,” says Hans Christensen, SIPRI's lead expert on nuclear weapons.

Russia and the United States together now account for more than 90% world nuclear arsenal. China's nuclear program has been developing intensively in recent months: according to satellite images, China is now building about 300 new missile silos. Great Britain also announced the expansion of its nuclear arsenal over the past year, which was a rejection of the disarmament policy.

Last year, France announced the start of the development of a new, third-generation submarine with nuclear weapons on board. India, Pakistan and Israel are also implementing various modernization programs. North Korea has increasingly consistently placed nuclear weapons at the center of its national security doctrine over the past year. SIPRI experts estimate the country's nuclear potential at about 20 warheads – with the availability of raw materials to create another 20-25 atomic charges.

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