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Publication | 2022

Can the West Afford to Let the World Go Hungry? Overcoming Challenges to Establishing a Humanitarian Corridor in the Black Sea

While economic interdependencies do not prevent war, witnessed most recently by Russia’s naked war of conquest in Ukraine, the costs of war in a globalised world spread far and wide. Russia has taken the world’s food markets hostage by blockading Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea. The resulting food price increases make a humanitarian crisis in the world’s poorest countries increasingly likely; this, in turn may lead to regime fragility and turmoil in the international system. The question of lifting the blockade by establishing a human corridor into the port of Odessa has recently been much discussed. There are challenges to any such effort, both strategic and operational. Yet a careful analysis reveals that the costs and risks of non-intervention are greater than the risks of intervening. An international naval force, co-led by the EU or its member states and Turkey is the best option for such a mission.