The Kremlin may be spinning Russia's withdrawal fromSnake Island— A small land off the coast of Bessarabia, of war Early Ukrainian garrison — as an act of "good faith". In fact, theforced withdrawalafter a successful Ukrainian bombing operation is a major defeat for Vladimirputin.
With Western help, it could be the turning point of the Black Sea, perhaps the most important theater of the war.
The Black Sea is not just related to Ukraine and its neighbors. Due to the blockade of Odesa, Ukraine's main port and the mining of the surrounding waters, Ukraine's grain exports have been unable to reach their destinations. Many are in developing countries. Ukraine is the world's fourth largest wheat exporter, with approximately 30 million tonnes stored in storage or stolen by Russian occupiers.
For some people in sub-Saharan Africa, this is literally a matter of life and death. Almost two-thirds of Sierra Leone's population experiencefood insecurity,and more than 30% of their children are malnourished. Meanwhile, South Sudan is already facing a food crisis affecting 70% of its population, perhaps more dramatic than the 2017 famine.
Of course, the whole point is to make these developments worse. In an eerie parallel to Holodomor, organized by Joseph Stalin in the 1930s to crush the Ukrainian state, Putin wants to organize famine in developing countries. He aims to destabilize Europe and ultimately create a refugee crisis that breaks Western's determination to support Ukraine. As energy prices rise and desperate people move chaotically across the Mediterranean, destructive political forces emerge on the far left and far right to make money in elections and encourage mainstream leaders to soften the Kremlin. increase.
It's scary to make it possible. Fortunately, there is a solution. First and foremost, Ukrainians can push themselves back completely if properly equipped, as shown by the sinking of Moscow, the flagship of the Russian Black Sea Fleet. Moskva was attacked by a Ukrainian-madeNeptune missile. With US intelligence and high-precision, long-range missiles such as the Danish harpoon, Ukraine could be significantly dysfunctional if it did not destroy the entire Black Sea Fleet.
The hesitation to provide such a tool to Ukrainians is completely misguided. If anything, more bold steps may be needed to end the blockage. A US-led naval coalition needs to supportOdesa deminingand escort Ukrainian grain transport from Ukrainian ports. In the 1980s, when the U.S. Navy accompanied a tanker in Kuwait from the Persian Gulf and effectively thwarted Iran's attack, the United States undertook a similar mission in the war between Iran and Iraq.
Note that this is a radically different operation from the no-fly zone idea that came to mind early in the conflict. .. .. Enforcing a no-fly zone requires the United States and its partners to violate restrictions and aggressively shoot down Russian planes that could attack targets within Russia, thus directly disputing nuclear power. Will escalate.
In contrast, the Navy escort mission to Russia Requests to attack first — the Kremlin thinks twice, especially if the Allies are big enough.
It's time to act. Contrary to common imagination, experience has repeatedly shown that defensive Putin is no more dangerous than Putin, who is bolded by our weaknesses and indecision-the exact opposite. Refusing to seize this opportunity is not only the cause of Ukrainian freedom and self-determination, but also the tens of millions of vulnerable people in the wealthiest countries on the planet, and ourselves and our allies. Detrimental to democracy This will have to withstand the immigration shock that could boost the 2015 refugee crisis.
Dalibor Rohac is a Senior Fellow of the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, DC. Twitter: @DaliborRohac.