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.