A demonstrator cries listening to a national anthem as other rallies with Ukrainian national flags in the centre of Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city
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Russia-Ukraine Crisis: Why Are Poors Bearing The Brunt Of The War?

A demonstrator cries listening to a national anthem as other rallies with Ukrainian national flags in the centre of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

The world is already feeling the pain of anti-Russia sanctions, export restrictions, soared energy prices, raw material shortage, supply chain disruptions and refugees exodus. 

This shows that not only the fighting countries would lose but the whole world is going to face the consequences of the Russian-Ukrainian war. 

Economic fallouts are major but other repercussions can not be ignored either.

Also Read: Ukraine War: Understanding the Roots and Cause of the Russia-Ukraine Crisis

Further, the world is sceptical of world trade development in the future when two-way sanctions can be witnessed over trade, people, technology and normal maintenance of relationships between Russia and Ukraine’s supporters including Europe.

Food And Energy Crunch

Ukraine is known as the breadbasket of Europe as 10% of world supplies of wheat comes from Ukraine. Middle Eastern and North African countries like Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and Tunisia are heavily dependent on Ukrainian wheat. Shortage of wheat can cause a feminine like situation in these countries that can lead to a humanitarian crisis. David Beasley, head of the World Food Programme warns that skyrocketing food prices are causing more people at risk of starvation worldwide, especially women and children.

Rising prices of energy and commodities like wheat add to already poor financial conditions prevailing in countries due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Russia and Ukraine together contribute 29 per cent of global wheat exports. As a result of war sanctions and supply chain disruptions, global wheat prices have increased by 57 per cent. Further increased oil prices will enhance the fertilizer and transportation costs.

The war is detrimental for the already food-insecure countries. Countries are facing supply chain disruptions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, conflicts and climate change. Recent war fallouts will only make reversals to the years of developmental efforts.

Also Read: Russia Sanctions: How is the Most Sanctioned Nation in World Coping with the Measures?

The World Bank is also concerned about the almost all-time high food prices and consequent food security challenges to the poor and underdeveloped countries. It is most likely that the global economy would face a temporary, if not long-lasting, slowdown in growth.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) warned that the consequences of war and sanctions on Russia are going to severely impact the global economy and financial markets.

Surging food and energy prices are witnessing these claims of the IMF and the World Bank.

Also Read: Syria: A Growing Humanitarian Crisis Amid the Russia-Ukraine Conflict

The IMF said that poor households are majorly facing these price shocks as food and energy are the major expenses that they have to bear.

Consequently, more escalation in war sanctions could have devastating impacts on poor households.

Gasoline prices have skyrocketed across the globe as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war.

Italian prime minister Mario Draghi said that the EU would need additional spending of about 0.6 per cent of Europe’s budget for spending on defence, climate and energy goals as a consequence of the Ukraine-Russia war.

He further quoted that energy prices have soared high and Europe already has spent an extra €16bn as a consequence. 

Health In Crisis

A women doctor examining a women patient.
Source: WHO

Even primary health, medicine and emergency services are being disrupted on both sides of the contact line. Shortage of medical staff, lack of basic medical equipment and supplies such as insulin and kidney failure treatments are worsening the humanitarian conditions. The situation is specifically alarming in war-torn areas of eastern Ukraine and non-government-controlled areas, reported WHO.

WHO is urging the international community to escalate the aid and support for health services in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine Refugees Crisis: A Fast Rising Exodus

Refugees fleeing war in neighbouring Ukraine queue at the Medyka border crossing, Poland

Refugees fleeing war in neighbouring Ukraine queue at the Medyka border crossing, Poland, Thursday, March 10, 2022.

People are suffering pain, tragic loss of life and property. More than 2.5 million people have already moved to neighbouring countries in Europe. 

Dame Barbara Woodward, the British Ambassador to the UN, said the war has caused a “humanitarian catastrophe“.

UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) claimed that it is the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe after the second world war and can reach up to 4 million in the coming few days.

Refugees are fleeing to border countries like Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Germany, Italy, France, Sweden, Moldova, Romania and others with emotions and stress.

A map showing statistics of Ukrainian refugees by target country.

Source: Statista

A Dash Of Relief Among Chaos

Volunteers give food, drinks, blankets, and diapers to babies, at the border crossing in Poland.

Source: [Visar Kryeziu/AP Photo] Volunteers give food, drinks, blankets, and diapers to babies, at the border crossing in Poland.

One thing that gives relief is a strong, immediate and open-armed welcome being given to Ukrainian refugees throughout the EU unlike the Syrian refugees just a few years back. It shows the capacity and resilience of the EU to accommodate a huge refugee base within a short period of time as was claimed impossible back in 2015 during the Syrian crisis.

Also Read: Ukraine War Revealing the Double Standards for Refugees

Most of the refugees are women and children who are fleeing and queueing in freezing temperatures from several hours to several days. The Government of Ukraine has banned men between ages 18 to 60 from fleeing the country after the enforcement of martial law.

The tone and attitude of politicians and civilians seem positive and accommodative towards Ukrainian refugees.

Volunteers give food, drinks, blankets, and diapers to babies, at the border crossing in Poland.

The EU unanimously activated the Temporary Protection Directive to provide Ukrainians with the right to work, housing and healthcare from one to three years.

The way Europe is helping in this refugee crisis can be set as a model to follow in other crises as well.

How Much Is Needed To Share Responsibilities

The International Committee of the Red Cross ICRC and the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies- the world’s largest disaster relief networks appealed for $273 million for the provision of food, water, shelter and healthcare to millions of Ukrainian suffering humanitarian deterioration at home as well as at the places of migration.

International support and aid is a prerequisite to delivering critical life maintenance facilities to those most in need.

Also Read: Palestine-Vs. Ukraine: Stark Western hypocrisy  on Palestine and  Ukraine

International organizations can identify and rescue the most vulnerable countries to provide their support and aid.

In case of general economic and financial impacts, the central banks around the world need to manage the inflationary trends and their impacts on domestic inflation. 

Governments can identify such poor households and provide them support to offset rising living costs.

Countries need policies and strategic interventions to mitigate the price impacts and ensure a continuous supply of grains. They have to plan in advance for their food supplies.

Obviously, countries have to find the means to fund these extra resources besides their national budgets.

It is time for the world to come ahead and share the burden of war-ridden people in crisis.