Street clashes, the fall of the government, the Crimean problem, the worsening civil war, aid convoys, a passenger airliner shot down and the most recent incidents have all made the question of Ukraine a difficult one to resolve. With the decision to impose sanctions against Russia, the problem has now become an international one concerning many countries.
There are two sides behind the sides fighting in Ukraine, the USA and EU on the one hand and Russia on the other. The EU countries and the USA want to rein Russia in through sanctions. The USA and several EU countries have therefore imposed severe restrictions on trade with Russia.
Russia reacted unexpectedly to these sanctions. It decided to restrict and halt imports of food products and raw materials from those countries enforcing sanctions against it.
Russia is restructuring its food imports, which represented around $43 billion of its total imports in 2013. The Russian government is taking various steps to prevent potential shortages in the country and rises in food prices. This planning is very important, because Russia currently imports approximately 50% of its food requirements from the USA, the EU, Canada, Australia and Japan.
Putin had identified new countries he will work together with on food imports; developing countries such as Turkey, Argentina, China, Chile, Ecuador and Brazil are Russia’s new partners. However, the EU is not sitting idly by: It is also trying to prevent Russia from trading with these countries in various ways.
The restrictions that Putin has imposed on food imports from Europe are severely hurting European farmers. Europe’s annual $16 billion exports to Russia have been significantly cut at one stroke.
Europe, whose economy is already in a state of crisis, is now seeking a solution to the heavy blow inflicted on its farmers by the Russian restrictions. For example, Greece, already suffering from a bankrupt economy, used to export agricultural products to Russia, but these are now rotting in warehouses. The situation facing farmers in Poland, Austria, Finland, Norway and Germany is also looking serious.
European producers, whose businesses have been damaged by the sanctions against Russia, are now putting intense pressure on their own governments and the EU. They are demanding that food exports to Russia be restarted. Suffering producers and farmers even say they are preparing legal proceedings to demand compensation from the EU.
The embargo on Russia is harming the EU more than the USA. When it comes to trade, the USA is not treating Russia that sternly. Let us not forget that a brisk trade in wheat between the two countries continued even during the Cold War.
Events in Ukraine have adversely affected the entire world. Damaged trade, a climate of war, tensions in relations and changing borders are the main evidence that the problem is worsening. The Ukraine problem is damaging everything in its path, like a powerful hurricane and all the parties concerned are uneasy at this. A rational solution is needed to this problem, which is causing impoverishment and other difficulties; a permanent solution that will calm things down and enable these countries to return to their former prosperity!
In this equation involving, Putin, Obama and Merkel, leaders need to behave moderately and rationally for the welfare of the peoples of the countries affected. An event in one country can now easily affect many other countries in a changing and globalizing world, for which reason problems need to be resolved through joint consensus and rationality. Otherwise, the people of all countries will suffer.
In the same way that Europe needs Russia to meet its energy needs, Russia needs Europe to buy that energy. They are mutually dependent in many ways. These countries must first of all abandon conflicts of interest and pointless power struggles.
The whole world has a shared responsibility to prevent any worsening of the struggles between the countries of the world due to what is happening in Ukraine.
An advisory group must be established for peace and brotherhood to prevail across the world, and action must be taken on the basis of a common will. Countries involved in incidents must be prepared to make sacrifices on some issues. Instead of fighting among themselves, the EU, the USA and Russia must use all their means to protect people who are being oppressed, slaughtered and starved and to improve their standards of living. The spirit of peace and brotherhood for which the world longs can only be established through such common reason and conscience.
Adnan Oktar's piece on MBC Times: